The True Failure of Durban

Guest post by Dennis Ray Wingo

First I want to say thanks to Anthony for providing this forum for the discussion of climate in a different sense, that is to focus on Durban and what this conference means from the wider perspective of the direction of our global civilization.

When I was young and beginning in the world of technology I complained to my mentor, my company’s regional manager, about a bad performance review delivered to me by a boss who I and he thought was incompetent. His response was to say that “a performance review can be used as a tool or as a bludgeon”. The same thing is true about CO2 and its role on the global stage as providing a tool whereby the technocrats of the UN and its NGO’s seek to reorganize our planetary civilization In keeping with their desired future.

The fear of the negative consequences of the emission of CO2 is being used as a tool to bludgeon the developed world into economic and political suicide. We in the west are told that we must commit this suicide because we must commit to a “Fair and equitable allocation of the atmospheric space, taking into account the criteria of historic climate debt and population;” [bullet 33g of the FCCC/AWGLCA/2011/CRP.39 document]. We are told that the only just and equitable way to do this is to transfer large sums of money to the Non-Annex 1 world and that we must have peak CO2 emissions in Annex 1 (western civilization) immediately [bullet 33d, bullet 32].

There are two critical assumptions that underpin the entire Durban conference as well as previous efforts; the first assumption is that we live in a limited world and that this wealth transfer and the immediate cessation of CO2 emissions is the only possible path toward a “sustainable” future. The second is that technology cannot solve the problem but politics can. What are these assumptions built upon and are they valid? Is this the only path forward? Are we destined to leave our global posterity in a state of perpetual semi-poverty? Human nature rebels against this doom and gloom view of the future, and with good reason.

The Assumptions

I do not wish to seem overdramatic, but I can only conclude from the information that is available to me as Secretary-General, that the Members of the United Nations have perhaps ten years left in which to subordinate their ancient quarrels and launch a global partnership to curb the arms race, to improve the human environment, to defuse the population explosion, and to supply the required momentum to development efforts. If such a global partnership is not forged within the next decade, then I very much fear that the problems that I have mentioned will have reached staggering proportions that they will be beyond our capacity to control.

Who said this? This statement could have very well have been the preamble to the Durban conference but it actually was uttered by UN Secretary General U Thant in 1969 and is included as the introduction to the book, Limits to Growth. The book “Limits to Growth” (LTG) is the touchstone of the environmental movement as well as the ultimate source of the two underpinning assumptions of the Durban conference.

The Limited Earth

The first assumption that the Earth is all we have and that our resources are limited to only what we have here. This is a patently false assumption. In 2005 I was invited to contribute a chapter to a book on “Spacepower Theory” which was commissioned by the defense department as an extension of Clauswitz’s classic “Landpower Theory”, Alfred Mahan’s “Seapower Theory”, and General Billy Mitchell’s “Airpower Theory”. In my chapter on the “Economic Development of the Solar System as the Heart of a Spacepower Theory”, a word was coined and defined.

geocentric” is defined as a mindset that sees spacepower and its application as focused primarily on actions, actors, and influences on earthly powers, the earth itself, and its nearby orbital environs. (available online at the NDU press here)

The underpinning assumption that the Earth and its resources constitutes all the wealth that exists for humans to access and use is by definition a geocentric mindset and has been falsified by the last three decades of NASA, ESA, and other nations scientific probes sent to the Moon and beyond. Just in the last few years we have discovered billions of tons of water on the Moon to support propulsion, trillions of tons of aluminum, titanium, iron, Uranium, thorium and other rare Earth metals along with Platinum Group Metals, Cobalt, nickel and iron derived from asteroid impacts. In the asteroid belt are untold riches of water, metals and other resources yet to be identified. Just a single small metal asteroid, 3554 Amun, has tens of trillions of dollars worth of metals, and an asteroid of the same type, 216 Cleopatra, has a billion trillion times more resources of the same type. We now know that Mars has extensive water resources and the two rovers Spirit and Opportunity, found in just a few kilometers of driving, enough metallic asteroid fragments to kick start industry on Mars. It is absurd to think that the geocentric mindset of LTG and today in Durban is correct.

No Faith In Technology

The supposed inability of technology to solve our current problems is the other key assumption of LTG and today in Durban. To anyone who understands history and technology this is absurd but here is what the authors of LTG say about technology;

Applying technology to the natural pressures that the environment exerts against any growth process has been so successful in the past that a whole culture has evolved around the principle of fighting against limits rather than learning to live with them. This culture has been reinforced by the apparent immensity of the earth and its resources and by the relative smallness of man and his activities….

(page 156, Limits to Growth)

We have felt it necessary to dwell so long on an analysis of technology here because we have found that technological optimism is the most common and the most dangerous reaction to our findings from the world model. Technology can relieve the symptoms of a problem without affecting the underlying causes. Faith in technology as the ultimate solution to all fundamental problems can thus divert our attention from the most fundamental problem – the problem of growth in a finite system – and prevent us from taking effective action to solve it.

(Page 159, LTG)

If you think that this thought pattern is one of the 1970’s, here is what Al Gore said in his book, Earth in the Balance in 1992:

It is important, however, to remember that there is a great danger in seeing technology alone as the answer to the environmental crisis. In fact, the idea that new technology is the solution to all our problems is a central part of the faulty way of thinking that created the crisis in the first place.

Unless we come to a better understanding of both the potential and the danger of technology, the addition of more technological power simply ensures further degradation of the environment, and no matter what new technologies we discover, no matter how cleverly and efficiently we manage to get them into the hands of people throughout the world, the underlying crisis will worsen unless, at the same time, we redefine our relationship to the environment, stabilize human population, and use every possible means to bring the earth back into balance.

(Page 328, Earth in the Balance)

Technology and technological development, in the form of the industrial revolution (the faulty way of thinking according to Gore), has done more to lift mankind out of poverty than all of the political systems tried in the entire one hundred and seventy thousand year history of our species put together. It is amazing that this neo Luddite attitude could exist today, but it does, and as an example of how it influences the Durban conference, only 15% of the money from their massive wealth transfer would be applied to developing technology. That is less than their administrative overhead! At the end of the day, this a key divergence between the NGO’s and technocrats of the UN and those of us who see another way, one rooted in finding solutions to the problems that confront us today.

Developing an Alternative

Let us, for the sake of the hypothetical and to put us on the same page as the delegates in Durban, let us grant the following:

  1. The increase in CO2 and other IR absorbing gasses in the atmosphere are bad and we must do something about it or suffer the secular apocalypse.
  2. We apply the minimum financial resources of the $100 billion per year as set forth in Durban to the problem.

Let us set as the requirements the following as well:

  1. Whatever solution is found, it must in the end result in a more prosperous world for all mankind.
  2. Whatever solution is found, it must also preserve individual liberty and provide opportunity for the further advance of mankind.

Unfortunately the requirements of brevity in this forum preclude an advanced treatment of this but lets lay the groundwork and if the reader wants more it can be provided in the future.

Energy

The first area to attack is energy. At the end of the day, energy is the key to the future. Just think that if a megawatt of electrical power was as inexpensive as a kilowatt is today, how many things would be different. A trash compactor could atomize your trash and separate it into its basic constituents for recycling. You could easily create your own hydrogen at home for your fuel cell car. Mining on the Earth could extract metals from base rock with oxygen as the waste product.

Half of the $100 billion per year would be spent on a crash program to develop various fusion technologies, including advanced forms of the National Ignition Facility, Polywell Fusion, Thorium fission, and the “traditional” ITER type Tokomak fusion. Applying this much money to these energy technologies would do far more than all of the political world shaping of the wealth transfer of Durban. Providing advanced energy sources would do far more than solar panels or wind turbines to power a prosperous civilization. Both solar and wind are inherently low energy multiple technologies, meaning that the energy that you get out of either of these is only low multiples of the energy that it takes the make, install, and maintain them.

If we put the proper amount of resources into these energy technologies, then we would “solve” the CO2 problem as a side benefit and we could build a world energy grid that would do more than all the antipoverty programs in place today put together to improve life on Earth. In researching the history of the industrial revolution, human lifespan has been directly proportional to the amount of inexpensive energy available to us. human lifespans in the west went from 35 years of age in the year 1700 to almost 50 years of age at the peak of the age of coal in 1900. Today at the peak of the oil age that number has climbed to almost 80 years in Annex 1 countries. It is also in the advanced energy countries where population growth has dropped to replacement or even below. There is a direct correlation between wealth and population and it is far more fun to make everyone wealthy than to make everyone suffer in poverty as would be the ultimate result of Durban.

Space Resource Development

In just the past few years the Lunar Recon Orbiter, the LCROSS, and other missions have made a very preliminary map of the resources available on the surface of the Moon. It is inevitable that there are upside surprises waiting us there. Despite the problems of NASA in getting us back to the Moon, to the Moon is our first destination. Let us apply the other $50 billion a year to an effort to begin the industrialization of the Moon. In inflation adjusted terms, this is still only 40% of the budget spent per year at the peak of the Apollo program. If it is that important, then we can increase that budget to the full $100 billion a year (we are talking about building a sustainable global civilization) on a multi-pronged effort in this area.

This would not just be a NASA effort or a NASA, ESA, JAXA effort but an effort that would provide the means whereby private enterprise could contribute through their own efforts and funds. Tax relief, prizes, and other incentives. We begin with the industrialization of the Moon and the construction of a transportation infrastructure to allow humans to easily move about in the inner solar system. The resources of the Moon enable this. We move forward to build infrastructure in geosynch orbit that are many times larger than today, to enable communications and remote sensing infrastructure that would fundamentally transform our global society for the better.

These are not fantasies, these are not science fiction ideas, they are 100% doable today. The problem has been that the financial support has not been there, even considering the $18 billion dollar a year NASA. NASA is not designed to lead the economic development of the solar system, nor should it be, this is something that the American people and our fellows in western civilization are uniquely qualified to do. Dr. John Marburger, the head of the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Bush administration had a marvelous speech on this subject at the Goddard symposium in 2006. In it he said:

The ultimate goal is not to impress others, or merely to explore our planetary system, but to use accessible space for the benefit of humankind. It is a goal that is not confined to a decade or a century. Nor is it confined to a single nearby destination, or to a fleeting dash to plant a flag. The idea is to begin preparing now for a future in which the material trapped in the Sun’s vicinity is available for incorporation into our way of life.

This is the alternative to the Durban failure that should be investigated and I submit that if we did this, our future would be far better in the year 2100 than even the most optimistic scenarios developed in any of these conferences that focus on how to split the existing pie up in a way that supports their political proclivities. We want to build a far bigger pie. Today the average welfare recipient in the United States lives a life style that Augustus Caesar or the greatest emperor of old China would think of as magic. Our goal should be to create a world in the year 2100 where the poor live a lifestyle that George Soros would envy.

Beyond Artificial Limits

For those of us who work in the space business and who develop new architectures for lunar development and beyond it seems absurd that these false assumptions should underpin serious global deliberations at crafting a better future for the citizens of our planetary civilization. This at the end of the day is my greatest objection to the role that climate scientists play in the arena of solutions to the “CO2 problem”. Whether or not you believe that CO2 is the secular apocalypse, one thing is certain, the people that are trained in the arcane science of climate proxies are inadequate in training and incompetent in execution of something as large as architecting a future for our civilization. We must open up the boundaries of the discussion to include energy development on the Earth and resource development off planet as serious and viable alternatives to plans such as the failed ones being drawn up in places like Durban.

There is a future out there, a glorious one, that while it may not solve all of our problems, it will certainly get us beyond these artificial limits to growth.

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128 Responses to The True Failure of Durban

  1. Cal65 says:

    The UN plan will shift wealth from the first world’s poor to the third world’s rich without making any difference in climate control.

  2. Ken Gareau says:

    Great article! It exposes the fallacy of Durbin while providing optimism for the future if we have the fortitude and common sense to grasp it!

  3. Brian H says:

    Half of the $100 billion per year would be spent on a crash program to develop various fusion technologies, including advanced forms of the National Ignition Facility, Polywell Fusion, Thorium fission, and the “traditional” ITER type Tokomak fusion.

    Actually, 1% of 1% of that amount directed to the (totally privately funded to date) DPF project at LPPhysics.com would see the start of implementation of fusion generation within 5 yrs. It is already at least an order of magnitude closer to “unity” than any other project, and should reach it during 2012. Its ultimate cost of capital and output would be around 5% of the best N.A. retail levels. Dispatchable, distributed, waste-free, radiation-free, direct electric output (no steam turbines needed), etc. Check it out.

  4. Martin Brumby says:

    Interesting article. Not for the first time, much more intelligent commentary (and comments) on the skeptic blogosphere than can be found on the MSM sites.

    The Grauniad piece does, however, capture something of the febrile atmosphere at the closing stages and will make people on here chuckle.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/dec/10/un-climate-change-summit-durban

    Interesting that comments on the Grauniad piece (dateline 11 December) were already closed by 07:30 am on 11 December. Maybe due to the number of naughty skeptics commenting?

    They are struggling to keep this scam on the road. But it isn’t about climate or science, it is all about power (political! Not energy!) and money.

    I’m sure we’ve several years of this to look forward to in the UK. And the likes of BuffHuhne are more than happy to throw the economy under a bus.

  5. SSam says:

    Heh, seemingly trite on first glance, by very poignant when you look at the meaning.

    Cal65, I salute your concise brevity!

  6. hro001 says:

    I was watching/listening to overtime “debate” at Durban, earlier today. And I was struck by the way in which questions to the effect of we need some clarification regarding ‘what we are approving/accepting’ were dealt with. [They weren't!]

    The media-spin is that “194 governments” have signed on to this “package” [which few could have examined] I’m not sure how this could have transpired since some delegations had already left

    But my reading of this “deal” is that all they’ve succeeded in doing is kicking the can down the road a few years.

    Nonetheless, the fact that WWF are not happy campers about this “deal” gives one cause for cautious optimism.

  7. TBear (Sydney, where it has finally warmed up, but just a bit ...) says:

    `… the emission of CO2 is being used as a tool to bludgeon the developed world into economic and political suicide’

    Stopped reading at that point.

    Sure, there is a lot to criticise about Durdan thing, but this sort of hyperbole does the opposition view no credit.

  8. crosspatch says:

    We don’t need fusion. It’s pie in the sky anyway. We don’t need to spend billions of dollars in search of some esoteric technology. Let’s use the technology we ALREADY HAVE. China is now embarking on what is essentially a carbon copy (so to speak) of the United States’ nuclear energy vision of the 1960’s. They are building large numbers of plants with several fast neutron reactors to fuel cycle management so they can recycle/re-use their spent fuel. They will have essentially a secure, low cost electricity generation infrastructure that does not rely on external sources of supply. They can convert depleted uranium into fuel in the fast neutron reactors. All those bullets we were firing in Iraq could be collected up and used for nuclear fuel by transmutation to plutonium. Yes, it’s plutonium but not a good kind for making bombs with because it will also contain quite a bit of P240. P240 is nearly impossible to separate from P239 and it has the nasty habit of spontaneous fission, something you do NOT want to happen in a bomb. Basically, this process effectively “poisons” the plutonium and makes it very undesirable for use as anything other than reactor fuel.

    If the US went back to its original nuclear electric plan, electric cars and trains would be a viable alternative. They make no sense now because we do not have either the generation capacity or distribution capacity to migrate any significant portion of our transportation infrastructure to electricity. We could nearly immediately cut 50% of our greenhouse gas emissions right now if we simply decided it was really all that important. But it isn’t really about CO2 at all, it is about where the money goes.

  9. Keith Battye says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    That is the vision of real human beings who wish well for mankind. The defeatist attitude of these global socialists is just disgusting. We are much better than that. We can and will ensure humankind goes on to better and better things.

    I have often stated that even here on Earth we have barely pricked the surface. The solid crust averages 30km thick all over the Earth and yet people say that the riches within it are finite! Perhaps in an absolute meaning they are but for all practical purposes they are infinite.

    In the end it is all about energy. The more we have the higher we can climb yet we have these hand wringing socialists trying to artificially limit our access to energy because it “will” run out eventually. Well it won’t and this colossus called man will continue to build and spread throughout the cosmos because that is what we are, dominant and resourceful.

    Socialism is a sickness that seeks to reward failure and handicap success. The desire to give money to nations that aren’t capable of managing their own affairs will simply lead to more of the same. The failure of so many societies is due to their inability to evolve successful social constructions not because of anything the rich democracies have done to them. In fact the rich democracies have brought many good and beneficial things to the third world thanks to the success of their economic, technological and organizational models. We never hear praise for this but without these things the third world’s populations would be as they were a century ago, about 5% the size they are today.

    Socialism is a parasitic system that severely weakens the host and it should be obvious to anyone that this is the case. Allow everyone the space to succeed and allow the failures to wither and die that way you get more success because everybody takes responsibility for themselves and their actions.

    Mr Wingo, you are correct, the only limits on mankind are the ones that exist in their minds.

  10. johanna says:

    It is great to read the thoughts of someone who is looking forward, in a positive way, rather than backward, in a negative, guilt-ridden way.

    The points about resources outside our planet are well made, and offer a useful perspective. However, the perspective needs to include that, for example, Australia’s coal resources alone are enough to meet global demand for at least 100 years.

    I agree that there has been a general chickening-out of space research and activity, while billions have been diverted to climate related scams. Quite frankly, even if the space projects didn’t produce much in terms of their objectives, I would still prefer that the money was spent there. It is a bit like the many expeditions that left Europe to explore the world. Most of them failed, and cost a motza, but in the end, it was the dawn of a whole new world, with huge benefits for everyone.

    Thanks for this post, which reminds us that the spirit of optimism and exploration is not dead.

  11. Alcheson says:

    Excellent article. I agree completely. Mankind is doomed if we are only content to live on this earth. Eventually something will take us out. Technological advance is the only way to save the human race long term. We should be spending 100 billion a yr of fusion technology instead of stupid windmills and work towards establishing a colony on Mars.

  12. James Sexton says:

    Thanks Dennis, that’s an interesting perspective with which I heartily agree!…… My thought on harvesting resources from space is that it won’t be available anytime soon, but we’ll get there. Technology development has always been the answer for the human condition to move forward. And, while the resources on earth are somewhat limited….sort of, technology ensures that our uses of the resources will be unlimited. When our fuel does work, we’re not destroying anything, we’re just moving its form around. And, as I’ve stated for some time now, abundant, cheap and available energy is key to economic development. It can not happen with out it. And that economic development is what pushes and allows for technological advancement.

    The sooner we get the world to understand this, the sooner we can be rid of those maniacs gathering in Durbin. Which, in an of itself would be an improvement to the human experience world wide.

  13. nc says:

    So where is the science? Anyone prove that C02 does anything except grow plants. Where is the science?

  14. Frank White says:

    Yes, technology has falsified Malthus’s prediction that mankind is doomed to poverty because the Earth’s resources are limited. And yes, the main limit is energy. To get one unit of food energy from modern agricultural products we need to input 10 times that energy and most of it from fossil fuels.

    Today we focus on global warming as a hazard. Let us hope that truly the risk is one sided. We can cope with secular warming at the currently observed rate. At least we are told that the trend is secular. But for all we know, the Earth is still recovering from the Little Ice Age, a cold period short enough that it drove my great-grandfather to Canada sometime during the 1840s.

    Thus, I believe is that there is also a risk of global cooling, with cycles or pseudo-cycles of various lengths. If so, only technology can save us.

  15. Michael H Anderson says:

    My God – I hadn’t even *heard* of the National Ignition Facility, Polywell, or Thorium fission until today – and l the rest of the world is still caught up in this superstitious, devolutionary Gaia-religion BULL$HIT!

    Is there ANY hope for humanity as long as the troglodytes are running the mainstream media and governments?

  16. Peter Whale says:

    Great Post unfortunately the agenda is about control and money and not finding solutions to non existent problems. The problem is political not scientific. The article you have written proves this to be the case for it is by any ones criteria the way towards a solution, except the political motivated.

  17. Peter Miller says:

    Durban has come and gone.

    Thankfully, it was as great a success as Copenhagen and did not commit the western world to economic suicide. Thank you China and India!

    Time is not on the side of the alarmists, unless there are a string of super El Ninos over the next few years, as the global climate is not behaving as per their forecasts, and their ‘science’ is shown to be increasingly a sham, a combination of cherry picking, plus manipulated and distorted data manipulation.

  18. richard says:

    alternative fuels, blah!

    what is wrong with co2.

    May i introduce you to the Johnson co2 generator for Greenhouses, at a cheap cost it pushes up co2 to 1000ppm.

  19. Mac the Knife says:

    Dennis,

    You speak the words of my heart!

    We, as a Species, must raise our eyes from the navel lint gazing of AGW and the false dichotomy of ‘limited resources’ and reach for the treasures that the solar system offers! Ours is a natural progression. First you crawl. Then you walk. And finally, with coordination and confidence, you run.

    First, we crawled up to hunter – gatherer clans, from clovis point stone tools, to hammered seam copper knifes and ornaments, and onto the basic industrial metallurgy of King Solomon’s mines. We toddled on with Da Vinci’s natural studies and Newton’s Principia. We gained confident stride with Boyle’s Ideal Gas, Einstein’s Theories, Heisenberg’s Uncertainties, and all of the other building blocks that support today’s modern mathematics, physics, thermodynamics, chemistry, engineering, and technology. And yet, this is not enough. It is just a good beginning! I and my species must Run! Crawling and walking is not enough! We must learn to run, from earth’s moon to Mars and the asteroid belt beyond! And from thence, to the moons of Saturn and on to the Kuiper Belt & Oort Cloud! We have a full solar system to explore, a treasure trove of new knowledge, new resources, and new mysteries just now within our reach and beckoning us with wonders that dwarf the resources of earth. We simply have no time to waste on the mewling and puking of the limited perspectives and retrograde orbits of the modern day AGW Luddites. The need to see what is ‘over the horizon’ is a genetic imperative that cannot be denied, for those of us encoded with the frontiersman DNA! We Must Run!!!

    “There is a future out there, a glorious one, …” Aye, a glorious future indeed! Let’s go get it, Dennis! And take a bunch of friends along with us……

    MtK

  20. M.A.Vukcevic says:

    The Durban financial calculations are a joke, would have benefited from expertise of a good statistician, kind of Mr. Grant Foster (better known as Tamino).

  21. Stephen Skinner says:

    Hopefully to support this thoughtful article here is an extract from Buckminster Fuller’s book “Utopia or Oblivion” p12-13

    “…Average lifespan expectantly for our classmates born circa 1895 as then calculated by the life-insurnace actuaries, was 42 years. During our lifetime, the average life expectancy in the United States has increased to 70 years. Up to the time we were born, the average total distance covered by a member of humanity in his all-time average lifespan of 27 years was 30,000 miles. My total travel to date, by land, sea and air, is a hundredfold that distance. It aggregates more than 3,000,000 miles and now, at 72 years, I find my work often taking me annually several times around the world with many lesser to-and-froings. This is in no wise a unique record. It is average for ever-increasing millions of humans who have responsibilities in the vast frontiers of technology, business, and statecraft of a swiftly emerging sperical world city. Today’s air hostesses far ourtravel me, and Gemini astronauts outdistanced my 3,000,000 limes in one week’s orbiting. Quite clearly, a complete transformation of human ecology in universe is occurring. It is not surprising that man, burdened with obsolete ‘knowledge’ – his spontaneous reflexing conditioned only by past experience, and as yet unable to realize himself as being already world man – fails to comprehend and cope logically with the birth of Universe Man….”

  22. mwhite says:

    “The European Union will place its current emission-cutting pledges inside the legally-binding Kyoto Protocol, a key demand of developing countries.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16124670

  23. Alex says:

    having found disagreement, the disagreers have agreed to extend their disagreement till 2015.Until then they will happily continue to find disagreement with the hope of extending their disagrrement till 2020, until all those presently receiveing 5 figure salaries from their governments and the UN will reach pensionable age and ths saving THEIR corner of the planet from climate change

  24. King of Cool says:

    Mate Nkoana-Mashabane, the president of the Durban conference and South Africa’s foreign minister, said:

    “We have saved planet earth for the future of our children and our great grand children to come. We have made history.”

    Who does she think she is? – The Empress of the New Galactic Order?

    R2D2 would go fall over backwards at that one and C3PO would flap his arms in an hysterical fit.

    But where do we find some real thought provoking words of wisdom? In WUWT no less.

    “There is a future out there, a glorious one”… Great stuff Jedi Master Wingo – I agree – We must reach for the stars – It is our destiny!

  25. Anopheles says:

    Look, I’ll buy polywell fusion, I’ll buy NIF fusion, I might even buy cold fusion, but don’t try to tell me there is any prospect of net energy from Tokamak fusion! If that could be done by funding, we would have had it decades ago.

  26. Anthea Collins says:

    Beware! The Warmists have won the argument : the world is warming, we told you so! The world has started cooling, BECAUSE you are doing what we told you to do! Get out of that, as the late lamented Eric Morcambe said (for UK readers.)

    Anthea

  27. Old England says:

    Hope you don’t mind my repeating what I wrote about this ‘deal’ on the Telegraph website:-

    A deal to to create the first steps towards an unelected world government run by unelected political appointees whose first interest is to serve their own interests and their marxist political agenda.

    A deal to destroy western economies based on the lunacy of demented deceivers like Huhne and the rest of the self-opinionated, secret-agenda, science-corrupting) watermelons .

    The light of democracy grows weaker by the day as the UN follows in the footsteps of the EU where democratically elected governments can now be changed and replaced with unelected EU politburo placemen.

    Be afraid, be very afraid as the future grows a lot darker and those of us who believe we live in democracies face being forced back into the voiceless serfdom of the dark ages.

  28. Ninderthana says:

    Tbear,
    Thank you for warning everyone that you have a closed mind. I’d be surprised if you knew where Durban was located.

  29. Tokamak Fusion ? How long has it been attempted, 50 years????

  30. commieBob says:

    We can’t solve our problems by a re-allocation of resources. Our problems can only be solved by technology.

    The doomsayers have been with us since Malthus. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malthusian_catastrophe The reason society has not already collapsed is that we have:
    1 – Used technology to increase production
    2 – Used technology to use less material to do the same things.
    3 – Used technology to substitute new materials to replace rare or diminishing resources.

    We have a tiger by the tail. If our problems get ahead of our ability to solve them, society might collapse. The only thing that will save us is our ability to innovate.

    Innovation depends on economic surplus. If everyone spends all their time grubbing for bare sustenance, there will be no time or resources for innovation. What do we have to worry about: “ignorance and greed… bad government, unjust laws, or war,” http://www.henrygeorge.org/pchp7.htm

  31. Excellent article and details succinctly what we need to be doing. It’s not clear where the human race lost its technologic optimism. I remember the days of seemingly unlimited options in the 1960’s when, with what now seems like primitive technology, we made it to the moon. My expectation was that this would result in human settlement of the moon and the movie 2001 provided a time frame during which this process would happen.

    I watched the movie again in 2001 and was very disappointed in the progress that had occurred during the 30 year period when we should have been able to take space vacations at the orbiting Hilton Hotel by now. The Limits to Growth idiocy and the inane idea of “sustainability” seem to have displaced technologic progress as primary human goals. Where we have seen immense progress is in power of computers which are still increasing their processing speed and memory capacity in accordance with Moore’s Law. It’s nice to have a supercomputer on my desktop and the power of a 1960’s mainframe in my cell phone, but what I really want is the ability to leave this gravity well.

    One of the drivers behind the anti-technologic forces is the dramatic dumbing down of education over the past 3 decades with the mathematics and science skills of high school graduates now being absysmal. The geocentric approach, especially when earth resources are considered to be small and finite has done a great deal to spread the meme of the earths resources as a zero sum game.

    The way in which the anti-technologic forces can prevent human progress is with their focus on extremely low energy density techologies. Wind and solar power have niche applications in remote areas far from a power line, but the proposal to power a modern technologic society with such low energy density power sources is simply madness and one needs to look at what the hidden reasons are for insisting on return to power sources that were rejected by our far smarter forebearers when they discovered my energy dense sources than intermittent wind. Curiously, a very renewable energy source, hydroelectric power which is economically sound to exploit is villified by the “environmentalists” because it means creating artificial lakes. I guess the lakes created by melting ice and major rearrangents to the underlying landscape beyond miles of ice are considered “natural” whenever we get a periodic ice age.

    One of the things that technologists can do is to rewrite the Gaia model to reflect what an earth size superorganism was likely really trying to do. Assuming that Gaia created an intelligent species with the ability to rapidly modify its environment, then human technologic process is one of Gaia’s goals. Gaia got lonely and wanted to communicate with other complex world sized organisms like herself and needed a species with technologic prowness to make contacts for Gaia. We have to get into the mindset that everything we do is natural and our human constructions are just as much of the natural environment as corral reefs are.

    The other thing that needs to be done is to fight every “sustainable” energy project at the local level with the appropriate level of ridicule to stop this waste of money. We need much more energy at a far lower cost to continue our technologic journey. Given the totalitarian proclivities of large parts of the earths population, the initial goal might be to simply create a space civilization and leave the neo-Luddites to their regressive policies. There might be treatments for pychopathologies which result in people entering politics primarily to obtain control over other people in the next 1-2 decades.

  32. Roger Carr says:

    There is a future out there, a glorious one…

    Thank you, Dennis Ray Wingo. Even many of us with little knowledge can feel that glory in our bones; and a sickness in our hearts that mean spirits and shrivelled souls can work so tirelessly, and often so successfully, to steal it from us.

    It is they who would take the bread from the mouths, and the joy from the hearts of our children yet to be born; and bring misery to so many, adult and child alike, today.

    With this posting on WUWT? I believe you have made a difference; and deserve wide gratitude for reminding us of the dream that is a reality if we will but lift our eyes. We have always known; but our spirits have been dulled.

    We do need reminding.

  33. Richard111 says:

    I note one of the ideals is to “defuse the population explosion” by making everyone equally wealthy. I hope they have enough time. It took over two hundred years of industrial development to drive up current personal wealth levels in the west.
    When I was born in 1940 world population was about 2 billion. World population had passed the 1 billion mark by 1900. We have just past 7 billion in 2011 and are guaranteed to pass 8 billion by 2020. I make that a population doubling every 40 years so by 2060 we should have 16 billion and by 2100 when sea levels have risen by any number of metres population of 32 billion with standing room only will see an end to all this drivel.

  34. Mike Borgelt says:

    Thank you for that Dennis.
    The conflict between your point of view and that of the Durban people was summed up by Poul and Karen Anderson in their 1971 story “Murphy’s Hall”. The story tells of a teenage boy’s fantasy about a place called Murphy’s Hall where the dead spacers go whose luck runs out.
    The last three paragraphs have haunted me ever since I read them in 1971when our retreat from space was already obvious.

    ” Me. And you. And you. And you in the future, if you exist. In the end Murphy’s Law gets us all. But we, my friends, must go to him the hard way. Our luck didn’t run out. Instead, the decision that could be made was made. It was decided for us that our race – among the trillions which must be out there wondering what lies beyond their skies – is not supposed to have either discipline or dreams. No our job is to make everybody nice and safe and equal, and if this happens to be impossible, then nothing else matters.
    If I went to that place – and I’m glad this is a lie – I’d keep remembering what we might have done and seen and known and been and loved.
    Murphy’s Hell.”

    It is sometimes difficult to be optimistic when you see setback after setback but considering what is at stake we cannot stop the fight.

  35. Isonomia says:

    What a load of crap.

    There is nothing I dislike more than people who treat energy with the same nonsense as a perpetual motion machine.

    The whole environmental perspective is one that says: “technology is the saviour”. That is why environmentalists are so pro-renewable energy.

    The whole thrust of this article is that “technology is the saviour” … therefore we can ignore anyone who disagrees that we will be saved by spending billions on developing new technology because only the true believers in new technology know the truth, the divine truth and nothing but the truth.

    It’s just the same nonsense dressed up to suck the public purse dry for another group of money-parasites who have always claimed the reason they haven’t (yet) delivered is because we haven’t handed them enough of our money, diverted enough resources and given them enough power to control society so they can develop their hair-brained schemes.

  36. Dave Springer says:

    Interesting. The “99%” in the U.S. are the 1% amongst and compared with the billions in India, China, Asia, and Africa. I wonder how they feel about that.

  37. Mary Childs says:

    Thanks for this perspective, and for tracing the origins of the hysteria. From an observant American’s always-skeptical-toward-politicians-and-authoritarians viewpoint, the abuse of science toward political ends is not new. Remember Hitler’s scientists ‘proved’ there was a superior race called ‘aryan’. There will always be people who feel superior to others and who believe it is their right to control them… Civilization has always battled these types for every ounce of freedom gained. If the West wants to return to paganism and earth/animal worship, others will push forward in technology, and our way of life will be a footnote in history. I personally do not see that happening, because most Americans just want the controllers to leave them alone to pursue the American dream, despite the Pravda-like msm.

  38. Dave Springer says:

    @Wingo

    Last night in republican debate Romney snidely and clumsily said, in response to being asked for examples of where he disagrees with Gingrich, “I don’t we should be considering establishing a manufacturing facility on the moon, we have too much to do right here on the earth.” Gingrich unabashedly defended the notion of manufacturing on the moon and regaled the audience of what NASA was like when he was a young man and said the nation needs these kinds of things to inspire its youth to pursue science and techology. Gingrich really took Mitt to school in that response. Actually old Newt pretty much takes anyone to school who dares to engage with him. I’m really starting to like Newt Gingrich but I never doubted he was the smartest guy standing on that stage.

  39. Dave Springer says:

    richard says:
    December 11, 2011 at 2:05 am

    “alternative fuels, blah! what is wrong with co2.”

    The only thing wrong with CO2 is there isn’t enough of it. Mark my words, as soon as synthetic biology takes off in a big way and we are very very cheaply manufacturing all manner of things using sunlight, air, dirt, and water we will need laws limiting how much CO2 can be removed from the atmosphere rather than limiting how much can be added. Carbon is a basic component in millions of useful materials from hydrocarbon fuels to carbon-fiber composite construction panels, car bodies, etc. The handiest source of carbon, found everywhere, is CO2 in the air. We need it all and then some. Drill baby drill. It’s all good.

  40. Stephen says:

    Mining planets and asteroids? Talk about a pipe dream. Real problems here on Earth like resource depletion and environmental degradation require practical solutions.

  41. David, UK says:

    TBear (Sydney, where it has finally warmed up, but just a bit …) says:
    December 11, 2011 at 12:12 am

    Sure, there is a lot to criticise about Durdan thing, but this sort of hyperbole does the opposition view no credit.

    One suspects you are not of the “opposition view.”

  42. Robert of Ottawa says:

    Quite so. Life expands to fill the space available, it always has and us humans can continue this prime impulse to survive, procreate and grow. If life on Earth is restricted in this capacity, then it can be propagated beyond the Earth. As pointed out, the reources of the Solar System are at our fingertips now.

  43. Steve from Rockwood says:

    Great article. Two more points:
    1. People talk about Earth’s human population as though it were evenly distributed. “When the population reaches 10 billion, the world will..” Nothing could be further from the truth. India and China hold almost half of the world’s population and will experience catastrophic effects if something globally bad were to happen.
    2. Poor countries want two things from rich countries that are mutually exclusive. They want us to suffer (financially) and they want us to pay (financially). How can you pay if you are busy dismantling your infrastructure?
    What we need is leadership from the U.S. on dismantling this fake green program (AGW) and restructuring the UN to help poor people in under developed countries – not the rich bureaucrats overseeing them. It has to be the U.S. as no other country has the same leverage. Not even China.

  44. P. Solar says:

    The following link to a brief text posted by Guardian correspondant in Durban seems like it may be the agreed text, or close to it.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/damian-carrington-blog/2011/dec/11/durban-climate-change-conference-2011-climate-change

    http://tinyurl.com/br22mtj

  45. JuergenK says:

    Anything about the IPCC?
    Spiegel-Online:
    “… and even the passage on future role of climate research leaves a concearn. Unlike in earlier drafts it is no longer stated that the decisions on forcing greenhouse gas reduction should be based on IPCC findings and reports. Instead the “process” should only be informed by the researchers…”
    (my translation)

  46. Vince Causey says:

    This article does a great job in showing what can be done, and a great job at debunking the Malthusian claptrap. What it doesn’t do however, is explain that there has been a fundamental shift in Western cultural values.

    The cultural values in the decades after the war could be summarised by Kennedy’s “to the moon”, speech. “We choose to do these things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” Kennedy was resonating with the cultural values and aspirations not just of the American people, but of all Western nations. The “greatest” generation had vanquished the foes of life and liberty in the greatest war ever, then rolled up their sleeves to rebuild the world from the ruins. But they were only just getting going.

    But everything they achieved is now being squandered. If a modern Kennedy made a comparable speech today, he would be booed. Green activists would be trotted out in front of the media to tell everyone what a terrible thing this is. We would be lectured on American’s carbon footprints and climate crimes. Neo Malthusians would be shouting about finite resources .and Socialists would be saying what a crime it is that all this money is not being sent to poor, starving people in the developing world.

    A modern Kennedy of course, is an impossibility, because his candidacy would be trashed before he finished the primaries. It doesn’t matter how much evidence accumulates debunking CAGW. It matters not a jot that temperature cease climbing or fall for the next decade. You could have 10,000 Richard Lindzens saying this is all bunk. Once you have a cultural mindset, it will not change until the majority holding those values have died.

    Of course, this mindset represents Western values. People of the developing world don’t have such qualms.

  47. observa says:

    “We have felt it necessary to dwell so long on an analysis of technology here because we have found that technological optimism is the most common and the most dangerous reaction to our findings from the world model. Technology can relieve the symptoms of a problem without affecting the underlying causes. Faith in technology as the ultimate solution to all fundamental problems can thus divert our attention from the most fundamental problem – the problem of growth in a finite system – and prevent us from taking effective action to solve it.”

    So give us your billions and have faith that we can take care of the technology folks!

  48. Dennis!
    You have put words on what I have always felt. Real science and engineering is what counts. Can I translate this to Swedish and put it on my blog quoting the source? Its a very good description of what is possible and what should be the focus, Cheap reliable energy. Why can’t politician understand that?

  49. DEEBEE says:

    There are pie distributors and then there are pie makers. The distributors will always ultimately succeed because distributors’ rhetoric will always melt the heart of quite a few successful makers.

    I am optimistic that even in the case distributors’ success will only spur the pie makers to make more pies. So the struggle, IMO, is to temporarily defeat the distributors in skirmishes so that they never reach a win on the strategic level where they can stop the makers from making.

  50. Smoking Frog says:

    I think it bears pointing out that the lifespan that Dennis Wingo and Stephen Skinner (12/11/2011 2:21 AM) are talking about is life expectancy at birth. Life expectancy at later ages has improved since the 19th century, but not nearly by as much.

    Example: For American white males: life expectancy at birth for those born in 2004 is 75.7 years, while life expectancy at age 60 for those born in 1850 was 15.6 years; i.e., the average 60-year old white male born in 1850 lived to be 75.6 years old.

    See this life expectancy chart.

  51. Smoking Frog says:

    Far be it from me to side with the Durban loons, but I don’t see that Mr. Wingo’s ideas about the future are much better justified than theirs. It might turn out that “the material trapped in the Sun’s vicinity” is NOT “available for incorporation into our way of life.” That is, we might find that it is too expensive to mine them. I’m all for optimism that we won’t find it so, but I don’t see that we can exclude the possibility that we’ll be disappointed.

  52. William McClenney says:

    When confronted by folk who more or less demand that we move to renewables like solar and wind (and I have both panels and a wind turbine) I may always be heard to say “In the pursuit of renewables every penny not spent on fusion research will very likely turn out to be a penny wasted.”

  53. Jeff says:

    This article boils down to two things:
    A: Spend part of $100 billion on developing fusion power
    B: Spend the rest on developing space-transportation infrastructure
    As a lifelong supporter of the space program, I actually agree with part B, so long as it results in a system that will eventually pay for itself. By contrast, e-commerce expanded the way it did because taxation was outlawed. It is an open question whether it will survive once that restriction is removed.
    As for Durban: On the good side, India and China continue to refuse to abide by Kyoto-style targets. This will result in “industrialized” countries gradually falling away. (The “agreement” to abide in the future is laughable.) On the bad side, the new bureacracies to create world-wide taxation have now been authorized, and they will have one and only one priority: to grow.

  54. R Barker says:

    The best way for the “developed” nations of the world, “the payors” to help the rest of the nations of the world “the payees” is for the private sectors to invest the money in new and inproving technology. The private sector is the most efficient method of pursuing technology because it quickly recognizes success and just as quickly abandons blind alleys, something governments habitually fail to do.

  55. chuck nolan says:

    We are very much in the process of developing a sustainable world. In order to end poverty and feed the people the world needs energy and a positive direction. Giving billions to despicable third world leaders is stupid and certainly non-sustainable. It’s the type of thinking that Dennis is showing that has helped create our constantly improving world. The people meeting in Durban take their beliefs and try to destroy the growth and prosperity of the human race. Two hundred years ago land covered with oil seepage left the land useless because you could not farm or raise animals on it. We have since found a use for the oil and the value of the land soared. Some may want to stop this growth to the future and run backwards but we in America say forge ahead and we will let the people define that future. That’s the way that the world goes round. What is needed throughout the world is for people to be free to act in their own self interest and a fairly enforced rule of law to protect their rights and freedom then life for the people of the world will improve.

  56. Otter says:

    Richard111 says~ and by 2100 when sea levels have risen by any number of metres population of 32 billion with standing room only will see an end to all this drivel.

    Ricky, one of your gods, hansen, predicted that a certain highway would be under ‘a number of meters’ of water, by… three years ago.

    Another one of your gods, algor, recently bought himself a nice, sea-level mansion which, by his prophecies, will be engulfed by ‘a number of meters’ of water in about 20 years.

    A third god, david zusuki, lives in a nice mansion on an island which he expects will be under ‘ a number of meters of water’… but he doesn’t seem intent on leaving any time soon!

    When are you going to get that the ‘drivel’ is pouring from your god’s [self-snipped]?

  57. Smoking Frog says:

    richard December 11, 2011 at 2:05 am
    alternative fuels, blah!

    what is wrong with co2.

    May i introduce you to the Johnson co2 generator for Greenhouses, at a cheap cost it pushes up co2 to 1000ppm.

    What are you saying, that CO2 is a fuel? No, it’s not. It’s already oxidized. That’s why plants need energy from the sun to break it down.

  58. Frumious Bandersnatch says:

    I’ve got a whole better idea that would not only save us the proposed spending of $100 billion/year, but would obtain the desired results much more cheaply and quicker. Use a bottom up approach (rather than the top-down one so loved by plutocrats and vilified by everyone else).

    IOW, get rid of the massive overregulation of the free market.

  59. Curiousgeorge says:

    Ever notice that the Envirobots attending these events have a spooky red glow emanating from their chests? We need to enlist Will Smith to inject a vial of nannites into the side of the UN building, thereby destroying UNVIKI and disabling all the NS-5 Envirobots that are screwing things up.

  60. Jim Clarke says:

    Throughout human history, there have always been individuals and groups that have the idea that they are ‘anointed'; that they know what is best for the rest of humanity and that it is their right and duty to control everyone else for the good of all. History has shown us that these people, no matter how diversified, have always been wrong, and, when given the chance, make things worse 100% of the time. It is simple impossible for an individual or small centralized group to have and process all of the information required to make good decisions for everyone else. The universal failure of the anointed is often more a matter of math than morality.

    Don’t get me wrong. We all think we know what is best for everyone else. The difference is that most of us do not try and control the rest of the population with force, fiats and fear to get our way. Instead, we invite others to join our vision of a better world and set out to make our own little part of the world better.

  61. Robert E. Phelan says:

    Richard111 says: December 11, 2011 at 4:03 am

    Richard, just where do you get that sort of drivel? First, your “facts” are wrong. The first billion was achieved between 1800 and 1820, not 1900. The second billion was reached about 1920. The world’s population is not exponentially increasing: growth is declining. There is one (probably over-optimistic) population scenario that predicts world population peaking at about 8.5 billion in the 2020’s and declining to just under 6 billion by 2100. 32 billion? Get a grip.

  62. higley7 says:

    Very simply, the UN is a Luddite organization, as then they can maintain that all solutions must derive from them and politicians.

  63. Jim Cripwell says:

    From a Canadian point of view, I view the following statement from our Minister of Environment, Peter Kent, as by far and away the most important thing he said.

    “Nor will we devote scarce dollars to capitalize the new Green Climate Fund — part of the Durban agreement — until all major emitters accept legally binding reduction targets and transparent accounting of greenhouse gas inventory,”

    In other words, not one red cent until everyone has agreed to binding reductions. Anyone heard when hell is going to freeze over?

  64. Jim Masterson says:

    >>
    The increase in CO2 and other IR absorbing gasses in the atmosphere are bad and we must do something about it or suffer the secular apocalypse.
    <<

    Even as a hypothetical, I consider this statement wrong.

    >>
    Smoking Frog says:
    December 11, 2011 at 6:48 am

    What are you saying, that CO2 is a fuel? No, it’s not. It’s already oxidized.
    <<

    I read him to say that advocating alternative fuels to keep from producing CO2 is nonsense. CO2 is good for the environment. Commercial greenhouses routinely add more CO2 to promote plant growth.

    Jim

  65. jon shively says:

    There is another important flawed assumption made by the architects of the Durban economic plan for the world. The participant’s economic beliefs stem from socialism or worse that income must be redistributed because it is finite and cannot be created. Capitalism is a creator of wealth as been shown to be the case in America. By forcing the industrial nations to distribute their wealth to underdeveloped nations will ultimately destroy wealth and the capacity of technology to address the world technical concerns such as pollution. Thus the Durban economic model is flawed from the start and will ultimately fail if it is ever implemented.

  66. thingadonta says:

    You can forget about mining on the moon. Theres enough cheese on earth.

    The costs would be so high as to make it a fantasy.

  67. Kaboom says:

    I wouldn’t just call these folks geocentric but eggists. They are birds that think they only have the egg they’re just woken up in, breaking the shell is bad and they have to conserve their energy as much as they can. Instead all they do is suffocate the long process that led them to be a species destined for flight.

  68. Ian W says:

    Boris Gimbarzevsky says:
    December 11, 2011 at 3:51 am
    Excellent article and details succinctly what we need to be doing. It’s not clear where the human race lost its technologic optimism. I remember the days of seemingly unlimited options in the 1960′s when, with what now seems like primitive technology, we made it to the moon. My expectation was that this would result in human settlement of the moon and the movie 2001 provided a time frame during which this process would happen.

    The “human race lost its technologic optimism” when being in politics became a career rather than a part-time job done for the good of one’s country. The career politicians largely now have degrees in law or politics and are only interested in furthering their careers. They have no understanding of science and in many cases are anti-science as politicians (and a lawyers) want to ‘win the argument’ regardless of the ‘truth': they do not wish to be shown to be wrong by observation. From this it is easy to see how the ‘Team’ climate ‘scientists’ fit so well with their politician funding sources.
    The only way out of this problem, which is affecting the entire world is to make politics part time as in Texas and impose term limits. Politics must not be seen as a career.

  69. Ric Werme says:

    Louis Hissink says:
    December 11, 2011 at 3:20 am

    > Tokamak Fusion ? How long has it been attempted, 50 years????

    Yeah, but we can expect commercial (hot) fusion reactors in only another 30 years. :-)

  70. Eric Worrall says:

    We have had the technology to start economically mining asteroids since the 1950s.

    Project Orion field tests demonstrated that space propulsion using nuclear explosives was clean, ridiculously powerful, and economically feasible. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Orion_(nuclear_propulsion)

    Since the 1950s we’ve had the ability to launch ships capable of re-engineering the solar system, shifting asteroids into Earth orbit, to mine or colonise, or even launch a manned mission to the nearest stars.

    All that is needed is the political will to reach out and grab the opportunity.

  71. Dave Worley says:

    We are explorers at our core. That is probably the key to our success.
    The discovery of the new world opened up abundant resources, Moon and Mars will do the same. We are fools to not be investing in settlements there.

    Furthermore, we have barely scratched the surface of the earth when it comes to available resources.

    The unsustainability hypothesis is dead wrong and they know it.

  72. Theo Goodwin says:

    Very good article, Mr. Wingo. I want to make a suggestion that is not intended as a joke though it might seem to be. Send your article to Newt Gingrich. He just might decide that embracing space “industrialization” is the great project that he needs in his campaign.

  73. Gary Pearse says:

    Limits to Growth took a look at “reserves” of the principal metals and fuels without understanding that the mining geologist only develops sufficient reserves to ensure feed for the concentrator for 10 to 15 years ahead. The cost of measuring these reserves through diamond drilling and assays is part of the cost of mining which must be kept to the minimum required to plan operations ahead. Projects like Inco’s nickel operations (now owned by Vale of Brazil) has had only 10 to 20 years reserves since they started in the Sudbury, Ontario area in 1905 and they are still going, and the reserves they have discovered in entirely new deposits since 1905 (and since the publication of LTG) dwarf what they had in Sudbury.

    Now for the technology. LTG gave us some 20-30 years (or so) of zinc left. Let us assume here that that is all there was. Three quarters of all zinc was used for coating steel for barn rooves, culverts, etc. to prevent them from corosion – we have many alternatives to this and since, we have many new materials that do the job better – plastics, composites, etc that weren’t even known when this alarmist Malthusian Lilliputian scholarship was prepared. Remember Jevons, the British 19th Century economist who saw the world sliding into ruins because of having only a century of coal left. Malthus himself who saw cities expanding in two dimensions (of one to 2 or 3 story buildings) so that a person on the outskirts would require several days on horseback or in a horse-drawn carriage to get to the centre of town (several technologies here – hey we don’t even have to present ourselves in the flesh now to go to a meeting in the far reaches of the globe!). And finally, in light of LTG, an electrical engineer skeptic apparently constructed a radio in the 1950s using only (I believe) concrete, steel, quartz and a few other abundant commodities. It was cumbersome I’m sure, but made the point that alarmists are constrained to linear thinking.

  74. Olen says:

    The attendees at Durbin want other people’s money and they want it now. They are using a fraud in an attempt to eliminate free enterprise, interfere in commerce and rake off money and take it for their own purposes. Their plans do not include mining the universe but do include limited mining on earth.

    They wish to sit at the top and distribute the worlds resources as they choose, in other words to determine life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The only thing in their way is the desire for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness over dictatorship.

  75. Steve Piet says:

    I was part of the ITER tokamak fusion project central team for 10 years, 1987-1997. Some day such magnetic fusion or inertial fusion like NIF will work, but I don’t know if it is 30 years or 300 years because of the physics and material science challenges. One of the few things governments should do is fund the long-term R&D that is beyond the time horizon of private industry.

    On the other hand, so-called cold fusion is delusional. Sorry, bizarre claims require extraordinary proof and the cold fusion crowd has nada.

  76. Bennett says:

    Wonderful analysis Dennis! I always enjoy your comments on other science and new-space blogs. It’s great to see you apply your clear thinking to counter the insane proposals the UN is making.

    Please keep writing!

  77. Steve Piet says:

    The most sustainable energy source that actually works today is nuclear fission with recycle of used fuel. 95% of the used fuel is recyclable uranium and transuranic elements. The zirconium cladding can be recycled as well. Nuclear provides more energy for a given disruption of land, water, and stuff out of the ground. So, any real environmentalist who knows her stuff will support it.

  78. Hugh Pepper says:

    The fantasy that we could somehow move all 6 billion of us to another planet or the moon is too absurd to contemplate, and not worth a moment of serious consideration. There may be habitable planets in the Universe, but we’re a LONG way from being able to move there!

    It is an absolute fact that we live on a planet with limited resources. Eventually we will use all the ancient sunlight (oil), and as this process unfolds, the costs will increase. (All the cheap oil is now gone, and we’re left trying to find the expensive stuff in deep water and elsewhere.) There are other costs as well. Ecological systems which support all life are being impaired as we pollute our atmosphere and our water. Fixing these problems will have a huge price tag and the longer we put off developing alternative energy sources, and more sustainable land use practices, the greater the cost we will be forced to pay.

    This is not a political or ideological issue. It is simply physics and mathematics.

  79. DirkH says:

    Hugh Pepper says:
    December 11, 2011 at 9:03 am
    “(All the cheap oil is now gone, and we’re left trying to find the expensive stuff in deep water and elsewhere.) There are other costs as well. Ecological systems which support all life are being impaired as we pollute our atmosphere and our water. Fixing these problems will have a huge price tag and the longer we put off developing alternative energy sources, and more sustainable land use practices, the greater the cost we will be forced to pay. ”

    Yes, but when our capital stock grows faster than these costs it will be relatively cheaper to solve them later. You mentioned mathematics and physics; now learn about economics.

  80. Richard S Courtney says:

    Dennis Ray Wingo:

    Thankyou for your informative article. I read it with interest.

    I agree your basic premise that a Malthusian view of human development is false (and I have repeatedly explained why including on WUWT).

    However, it is not necessary to expand outwards from the Earth to maintain resource supplies. Most of the Earth is covered in water and we are only starting to obtain the resources beneath the seas (e.g. off-shore oil extraction).

    I strongly agree with you that we need to enable exploration for resources and development of technologies which enable acquisition of new-found resources. But it is an error to prescribe which new finds should be developed: economics most effectively make the determination for us. So, in my opinion, it is an error to assert that the correct new source of resources is extraterrestrial before the costs are determined.

    Indeed, this is the same error that has been made with energy supply which – as you rightly say – is the determinant of the possible conduct of every human activity; e.g. we are being burdened with extraordinary costs of useless windfarms when the money wasted on them could be spent on power stations.

    All-in-all, I think your article is a useful and timely reminder that human development is NOT constrained by limited resources similar to a bacterium’s development in a Petri dish. Those thinking such limits exist need to study economics 101 to discover why they are so very mistaken.

    Again, thankyou.

    Richard

  81. Stephen Skinnner says:

    Smoking Frog says:
    December 11, 2011 at 6:15 am
    “…Life expectancy at later ages has improved since the 19th century, but not nearly by as much.
    Example: For American white males: life expectancy at birth for those born in 2004 is 75.7 years, while life expectancy at age 60 for those born in 1850 was 15.6 years; i.e., the average 60-year old white male born in 1850 lived to be 75.6 years old.”

    Yes, but that was for those that made it that far. And the average 60 year old was not the average. Thanks for the link by the way.

  82. Dave Huntsman says:

    While my friend Dennis Wingo and I have similar views on space development, I believe he is factually incorrect on both the descriptions of the problems and what Durban et al are about,

    To single out climate science, (or evolution science, for that matter) for derision is silly: most climate science in this country for decades has been done either by or for NASA, the lead climate agency (NOAA does weather, NASA does climate), and the only ones who think they are incompetent are those who support oil industry and Fox False ‘News’ propaganda. NASA – and Durban – are not about ‘limits to growth'; and equating them is falsity. It is, simply stated, that there are problems with unlimited growth of carbon emissions in our biosphere that further drives increase in another potent greenhouse ‘gas’, water vapor; and these need to be recognized and their effects mitigated. The solution will involve a mix of better technological solutions and political will. To imply that ‘limits to growth’ and ‘transfer from wealth to poor’ nations are the main objects of the problem are ludicrous.

    As a strong proponent of expanding humanity, and humanity’s economy, into space, I still must also point out that our problem this century – a problem that is already occurring, right now – will never have its cheapest, most economical, most cost-effective solution in space; not in this century. It will almost always be cheaper- and quicker – to get more efficient on Earth, to recycle more materials, to capture more wasted energy, etc.

    The climate problem is real; the solutions are within our grasp -if we discuss and act intelligently. I honestly don’t feel this post fits into that description.

  83. G. Karst says:

    Dennis Ray Wingo:

    I love your optimism. Your writings have been honest and refreshing.

    Personally, I think hot fusion will be a perpetual research project. It will produce nothing, except for pushing material design and research to it’s limits. That is reason enough to continue, but as a near future energy supply… not a chance in hell.

    As far as space mining, I’ll believe it when they move our space station to a moon orbit. The reality seems to be that despite increasing technology, our space capability seems to be declining. Maybe this will turn around, but with all the actions contemplated for weather (climate) control, I just don’t see the required investment being available, in the resultant economy.

    I hope you are right and I am totally wrong. GK

  84. davidmhoffer says:

    Dave Huntsman;
    To imply that ‘limits to growth’ and ‘transfer from wealth to poor’ nations are the main objects of the problem are ludicrous. >>>

    Did you fail to understand the draft language that came out of Durban? And Copenhagen? Or are you just lying?

  85. You have put words on what I have always felt. Real science and engineering is what counts. Can I translate this to Swedish and put it on my blog quoting the source? Its a very good description of what is possible and what should be the focus, Cheap reliable energy. Why can’t politician understand that?

    Yes

    More later.

  86. agfosterjr says:

    Damn disappearing posts.

    What pathetic B.S. Space mining makes life on Mars look realistic. Air cargo to the space station is a bargain compared to the moon and beyond. How many dollars per pound is that?

  87. davidmhoffer says:

    Hugh Pepper;
    Ecological systems which support all life are being impaired as we pollute our atmosphere and our water. Fixing these problems will have a huge price tag and the longer we put off developing alternative energy sources, and more sustainable land use practices, the greater the cost we will be forced to pay. >>>

    What is being “impaired”? Agricultural production is higher than it has ever been, both in terms of area cultivated and in terms of production per square kilometer. Our air is the cleanest it has been in decades, the days of smog alerts several times per week in major cities are so far behind us that one liners like “I shot an arrow into the sky… and it stuck there” don’t even make sense to today’s youth. Plagues caused by water borne or food borne diseases are so far behind us that today’s youth aren’t sure what a plague actually is, and they think “quarantine” is something to do with computer viruses, they have no idea it used to mean entire cities. Our ecological systems have NEVER been as healthy as they are today. We have the lowest mortality rate at birth in human history. We have the longest life span in human history. How in hell did we achieve these things of the ecological systems upon which we depend are “imparied”? The fact is they are healthier than they ever have been.

  88. Thanks Dennis for the challenge and perspective.
    There also appears promise for Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR) as evidenced by internal 2009 and 2011 NASA evaluations pried out by FOIA.
    Low Energy Nuclear Reactions An Energetics Revolution for ALL of NASA’s Missions
    and A Solution to Climate Change and the Economic Meltdown
    J. M. Zawodny – August 12, 2009 NASA
    NASA and LENRDennis M. Bushnell, Chief Scientist, NASA Langley Research Center 2009
    Overview of Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR) as Implemented by Andrea Rossi and Francesca Piantelli 2011 LENR Workshop at GRC, September 22, 2011 Michael A. Nelson, MSFC Low Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR) Space, Applications Lead (ER22) NASA-MSFC
    Low Energy Nuclear Reactions – Is there better way to do nuclear power?
    Dr. Joseph M. Zawodny, NASA Langley Research Center 2011
    Posted at NewEnergyTimes.com with links at: http://www.mail-archive.com/vortex-l%40eskimo.com/msg58028.html

    David Stockwell reviews LENR news at Niche Modeling.

    Solar liquid fuels also have enormous potential
    High Temperature Solar in Low Carbon Hydrogen 2011 Sustainable Mobility Seminar: Hydrogen Panel, Dr. Alan Weimer, University of Colorado, Boulder

    For those commissioned to pursue this, their promise is: ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ Jer 33:3

  89. agfosterjr says:

    Hey, I can post–maybe–is this site overloaded or something?

    And Dave Huntsman is even more ridiculous. NASA is incompetent all around All of their deadly mishaps were avoidable with competent management. Even in their glory days–which may never be repeated–they quarantined the first moon walkers. Those deadly moon microbes were best left behind. But moon microbes are a more realistic fear than Global Warming. DH doesn’t have a kindergarten understanding of the science. NASA’s James Hansen is the most deluded quack that ever worked for NASA, but he’s still there, and winning. Infiltrating the clockwork and rotting its innards.

    DH, there is not a competent scientist on the planet who worries about CAGW. Never was. NASA’s Hansen goes on about dangerous sea level rise, when we all know the rate has decreased from the last decade to this one. And even if the impossible occurred, and all the ice melted in the next half century, it would not increase population density any more than current population growth suggests. These are KNOWN extrapolations as opposed to hypothetical, worst case scenarios. You and your ilk are as far removed from reality as is this Wingo poster.

    No common sense whatever. –AGF

  90. davidmhoffer says:

    Hugh Pepper;

    While I’m in rant mode, let me take you to task on the stupidity of “alternative” energy sources. There ARE no “alternative” energy sources. Do you know what solar and wind power actually are?

    They are OBSOLETE energy sources.

    There was a time when ships crossed the ocean powered only by the wind. People died before they got to their destination, grain spoiled, goods rotted. Windmills once powered food processing, which was capable of little more than grinding grain. Solar power was used extensively for heating homes. In other words, anywhere it wasn’t already warm enough, was pretty much uninhabitable.

    The “damage” we’ve done to the ecosystem is as entirely made up as is the notion that the miniscule warming that can theoretically be caused by CO2 is of any serious concern and more than likely benefical. In order to solve problems that do not exist we are being told to develop “alternative energy sources”.

    Alternative energy sources failed us. They are obsolete approaches that failed to provide the staggering gains we have made in quality and assurance of life over the last two centuries. They aren’t “alternatives” in any way shape or form. They are obsolete, and returning to them makes no more sense than plowing a field with oxen or only cooking as much food as can be eaten in a day for fear than any longer it will spoil. Improving the efficiency with which we capture energy from wind and solar makes an obsolete technology just a bit less obsolete. It is as ridiculous as coming up with a candle that burns twice as bright for twice as long as “regular” candles and labelling it an “alternative” to light bulbs.

  91. Personally, I think hot fusion will be a perpetual research project. It will produce nothing, except for pushing material design and research to it’s limits. That is reason enough to continue, but as a near future energy supply… not a chance in hell.

    The problem with fusion development of all types is that the government gives enough money to keep the lights on but little money to make real progress. Former NASA administrator Mike Griffin said that it takes $8 billion a year just to keep the lights on and salaries paid at the centers. So if you are anti-technology and want to kill something you don’t try to really kill it outright as the supporters will block you. What you do is to give enough money to keep all the lights on and salaries paid but not enough to do what the agency was brought into being to do.

    To address the issue of shifting the pork from AGW to Space as not good, I do tend to agree but the parameters of the Durban argument as has been the AGW argument for years is that the ONLY path to climate salvation is to transfer large sums of money to the developing countries while killing our own economies in the process. If you doubt this read the linked document for the original Durban draft.

    I did not go into this in detail but what you can do is two things. The first is tax relief. We got a bill through the house of representatives in the year 2000 (Newt Gingrich was in on some of the earlier planning for this bill), called Zero G Zero Tax. What this bill would have done is to remove all corporate taxation from enterprises who made new products in space. The exceptions would be existing enterprises like launch vehicles, and communications/remote sensing satellites. A later version would have removed taxation from the capital gains for investment in these enterprises. The Joint Taxation Committee scored the bill at $10 billion in lost revenue using the static scoring method. Since there were NO companies doing this when the bill originally passed the house, we calculated, based on the JTC scoring, that it would generate over $100 billion per year in GDP growth by the end of that ten year period. It would actually lead to a profit for the treasury as the increased economic activity would generate something like $28 billion in federal revenues from the jobs created. This is the problem with static scoring and is something that should be changed in the House rules. This would result in no net expenditure of federal funds.

    The second is prizes. Instead of doing the typical government contracting gig you put up multiple prized for the desired economic activity. For example, you provide a $15 billion dollar prize for the first company to place humans on the Moon and keep them alive there for one year (and return them safely of course).

    You provide a second prize of $20 billion dollars to the first organization that brings 100 kg of Platinum Group metals back to the Earth, derived from extraterrestrial sources, whether from the moon or the asteroids. There could be milestones along the way that generate incremental portions of the prize money, much as the National Railroad did in the Pacific Railway Act of 1862, that built the first railroad across the continental United States.

    These things would generate a great deal of economic activity and if they were unsuccessful, no pay out. There are ways of doing this that will work and will not burden the taxpayers.

    Think Different About Space

  92. the lead climate agency (NOAA does weather, NASA does climate), and the only ones who think they are incompetent are those who support oil industry

    Dave, please take me kindly but you simply misread what I said. Here it is…

    ”. Whether or not you believe that CO2 is the secular apocalypse, one thing is certain, the people that are trained in the arcane science of climate proxies are inadequate in training and incompetent in execution of something as large as architecting a future for our civilization.

    Are you seriously going to tell me that the climate science community has any training or competence in the area of systems of systems engineering as Admiral Steidle called it? Would you go the next step and even think that the people who are at Durban have such training and competence? The obvious answer is that they don’t, and the work product that has come out of these conferences are a testimony to this incompetence. Why would you EVER ask Mike Mann, Tom Wigley, Phil Jones, or Keith Biffra about mitigation strategies for AGW? No matter what their training or competence is in climate proxy reconstruction, they have no business even being asked about what to do about it. This is why in my ground rules I simply agreed with those who think that CO2 is bad, to eliminate that part of the argument. Far too many people are wrapped up in that one while ignorning the incredible travesty of the incompetent solutions sets proposed by these conferences.

    One thing that has really struck me as an engineer/physicist in doing lunar and Mars infrastructure studies is that the industrial development of these places are in microcosm a reflection of what we need to do here on the earth in a post hydrocarbon based civilization. Since there is no oil on the Moon and presumably none on Mars (unless you believe in the theory of primordial hydrocarbon emplacement rather than fossil) then by definition building a society or developing industrial infrastructure there will be by definition something of a role model for us Earthlings.

    The technologies developed “up there” will have a massive and positive feedback loop here as has been laid out in books by my good friend Robert Zubrin.

    So Dave, don’t get hung up on your own knee jerk reaction when you see the word incompetent applied to climate scientist without looking at the context. I am quite willing to cede that I am incompetent as a surgeon, but I am pretty darn good in the space arena due to training and experience.

  93. The fantasy that we could somehow move all 6 billion of us to another planet or the moon is too absurd to contemplate, and not worth a moment of serious consideration. There may be habitable planets in the Universe, but we’re a LONG way from being able to move there!

    Hough

    Why create a strawman to knock down when there is none? No one is proposing what you have stated above. What we in the space community do propose is that the resources of our solar system are so much greater than what is on our little mudball that to eliminate this from consideration is incompetent.

    With the proper technical support, both the Moon, Mars, and even free space is habitable for humans. Using your logic Antarctica is uninhabitable, though the aggregate population of that continent is in the thousands at the current time. Habitability is a function of technology. Even with that said, I am not proposing that significant populations move off the Earth, at least not any time in the near future. What our community is proposing is that, through the use of technology and through both human and robotic means, we incorporate the riches of our solar system into our terrestrial economy.

  94. clipe says:

    To choose not to explore is to choose an evolutionary dead-end.

  95. G. Karst says:

    Dennis Ray Wingo:

    Hey, if your running for office – You got my vote!

    If you’re not, then you must have an alternative plan. In which case I must say:

    “Who is John Galt?” GK

  96. William McClenney says:

    Hugh Pepper says:
    December 11, 2011 at 9:03 am

    Hugh, I mean no offense, but as I read your comment I could not help but wonder what Fred Flintstone told Barney Rubble when “Barn” showed up with the first biface tool setting off the Acheulian tool age 1.8 million years ago. And it took about that long before we figured out how to cook metals out of rocks.

    Ultimately you are correct in one regard, this is Spaceship Earth, what is here is here. What isn’t is what’s “out there”, which is one of the many things Wingo was on about. Which brings me to:

    “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift; that’s why they call it the present.” Eleanor Roosevelt.

    Yes, there is a finite amount of oil. Yes, technology gone mainstream since at lest 2003 has now extended into the very source rocks, dramatically extending reserves. This, of course, being either a bad thing or a good thing. Depending upon whether or not you really comprehend “when” we live.

    If you are unfamiliar with the works of one of the pioneers of paleoclimatology, allow me to introduce Wallace Broecker, perhaps describable more as a warmist today. A seminal paper by Broecker may be found here http://www.personal.kent.edu/~jortiz/paleoceanography/broecker.pdf

    Musings along this line of inquiry are updated in http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/12/30/the-antithesis/

    If we are to appreciate the application of the Precautionary Principle correctly then we must also consider that we may very well be close to the end of the present extreme interglacial. Given that the ends of the previous extreme interglacials contain excursions far in excess of what has been predicted from AGW, and that even Broecker realized before the end of the last century that CO2 may ameliorate what he suggested would be a dramatic drop into the next ice age, you just might have a few more variables to integrate into your model.

    Wingo quite reasonably obviates the “Spaceship Earth” paradigm by alluding to the ever increasing energy density required to make it to the next level.

    The ultimate question here, as seems to be always the case, is actually rather simple. What advantage biface tools over monoedge tools? That one took about 1.8 million years to answer…..

  97. John West says:

    Dennis Ray Wingo
    Excellent post! Totally agree with your perspective, thank you for articulating it so well.

    “we are talking about building a sustainable global civilization”

    Tribalism > Nationalism > Globalization
    It’s just a matter of time and technology.
    I just hope the UN isn’t around to see it.

  98. David Ball says:

    I always laugh when progressives think they’re progressive.

  99. Mr Lynn says:

    Dennis Ray Wingo: Bravo!

    When I was a tyke I read the works of Robert A. Heinlein and Willy Ley (The Conquest of Space, with illustrations by Chesley Bonestell) and lay out on the lawn at night gazing up at the stars. I never doubted that by now, by the unimaginably distant 21st century, we’d be on our way to Alpha Centauri, at least. But here we are, struggling to find the wherewithal just to have a few adventurers buzz around in low Earth orbit, at the edge of the atmosphere. And lo and behold! a phalanx of black-robed naysayers cries “Hold!” and waves placards proclaiming the End of Days if we pursue the progress of civilization and the dream of new frontiers beyond the Earth.

    Will they win out? Not if we can muster the will to challenge them and their political sycophants. The secret, as you point out so clearly, is energy. It must become ever cheaper and ever more abundant. Every leap forward has come from moving up the scale of energy usage. Energy makes possible the advances in technology that will be needed to bring the Solar System and ultimately the stars within our grasp. Is the cost of getting out of Earth’s gravity well too great? Then we will device new types of engines and launchers that will reduce that cost to a trivial amount; because the energy needed will be virtually free—if the Luddites and the ‘sustainability’ mavens do not succeed in returning us to the Dark Ages.

    Those of you who are tempted to pessimism about mankind’s future, who fear we will run out of resources, and destroy the planet: you need to do some reading. Take a look at John Lewis’s Mining the Sky,, Robert Zubrin’s The Case for Mars, and Gerard K. O’Neill’s seminal work on space colonies, The High Frontier for starters. They will open your eyes and your minds. And for resources, E. M. Smith’s terrific posts on his website are essential:
    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/05/08/there-is-no-shortage-of-stuff/
    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/03/20/there-is-no-energy-shortage/
    To quote the indefatigable Mr. Smith: “There is no shortage of stuff, and there never will be.”

    /Mr Lynn

  100. Mr Lynn says:

    Dave Springer says:
    December 11, 2011 at 5:15 am

    Last night in republican debate Romney snidely and clumsily said, in response to being asked for examples of where he disagrees with Gingrich, “I don’t we should be considering establishing a manufacturing facility on the moon, we have too much to do right here on the earth.” Gingrich unabashedly defended the notion of manufacturing on the moon and regaled the audience of what NASA was like when he was a young man and said the nation needs these kinds of things to inspire its youth to pursue science and techology. Gingrich really took Mitt to school in that response. Actually old Newt pretty much takes anyone to school who dares to engage with him. I’m really starting to like Newt Gingrich but I never doubted he was the smartest guy standing on that stage.

    Ditto! Newt is sometimes wrong, and often too enamored of statist ‘solutions’, but he’s the only one in either party at that level with any imagination. And Mitt fell even further in my estimation with that blinkered critique: Of course we should be aiming at mining and manufacturing on the Moon!

    /Mr Lynn

  101. Mr Lynn says:

    Theo Goodwin says:
    December 11, 2011 at 8:10 am
    Very good article, Mr. Wingo. I want to make a suggestion that is not intended as a joke though it might seem to be. Send your article to Newt Gingrich. He just might decide that embracing space “industrialization” is the great project that he needs in his campaign.

    Yes indeed! Let’s all send him a copy! And while we’re at it, encourage him to read Watts Up With That. He needs a little schoolin’ himself on where the self-proclaimed ‘climate scientists’ went wrong, and why.

    /Mr Lynn

  102. Roger Sowell says:

    Have read most of the comments, not all. Apologies if this has been already stated.

    Locating and bringing to Earth an ore-rich asteroid is not only not as easy as some would portray it, but the economics are not good. This is a classic case of mineral exploration: with astronomically high costs (literally), one must obtain a high quantity of good quality mineral to justify the expenditure and time. However, the high quantity of the mineral brought to Earth will collapse the market price, making the entire venture worthless.

    One could, of course, mine only a portion of the asteroid and bring back small quantities to Earth, thus maintaining the high price. That doesn’t do much to help the masses, even if it does line the pocketbook of the miners.

    Or, one could bring the asteroid back to Earth orbit, then send down as much or little as desired to meet the need. This is much what OPEC did from 1980 onward, although they had lots of competition from other oil fields (Alaska, North Sea, as examples).

    Finally, all the hype about nuclear power is worthless. Nuclear power is not the savior some paint it to be. Even if nuclear-based electricity were cheap and abundant, that is not the major power source for bettering the world. Sure, it turns on the lights and runs the electric motors, but it won’t move the ships, cars, trains, and especially the trucks. It won’t produce petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, plastics, and the myriad of other vital products for our consumption. And yes, I am aware of electric trains. They work in limited services, but not for long-haul freight.

    Economics is the key. Space-based mining is not economic, and not likely ever to be so.

  103. Roger Sowell says:

    A further point: if the Earth is too small, has too few mineral resources, it does little good to go to the asteroids to obtain more. There are a finite number of asteroids. The solar system is also finite.

    Using the same (idiotic) logic as those who say We Are Running Out of Stuff Here On Earth, then we will also run out of stuff in the solar system.

    There is no shortage of stuff here on Earth. Never has been and never will be. Every atom that was ever placed on this Earth from the beginning is still here (absent a few tons of stuff that was sent up in rockets and won’t return, and even fewer pounds of stuff transmuted in nuclear fission reactions). The atoms didn’t go anywhere: all the iron, copper, and everything else is still here. Some is inaccessible with current technology (too deep in the crust), and some is too expensive to extract with current technology and current prices (dissolved minerals in the ocean water). Plentiful and cheap energy will go a long, long way in providing all the mineral resources we will ever need.

    And, for those who discount solar energy, I suggest you consider the production of hydrogen via enzymes. This is synthetic photosynthesis, whereby water is split at ambient temperature and pressure into hydrogen and oxygen, using only sunlight as the energy source. The hydrogen then can be compressed, stored, transported, and used where and as needed. The seminal discovery was several years ago by British scientists.

  104. Locating and bringing to Earth an ore-rich asteroid is not only not as easy as some would portray it, but the economics are not good. This is a classic case of mineral exploration: with astronomically high costs (literally), one must obtain a high quantity of good quality mineral to justify the expenditure and time. However, the high quantity of the mineral brought to Earth will collapse the market price, making the entire venture worthless.

    This argument has been used before, and it is a fallacy. In the year 1865 Queen Victoria was given a place setting of a very valuable metal, worth more than gold. It was placed in the crown jewels. 75 years later it was down to a dollar or two per pound. That metal was Aluminum.

    Also, these types of analysis always assume astronomical prices for transportation. As soon as we are obtaining large amounts of water from the Moon and then asteroids, transportation costs will fall dramatically as we shift over to reusable space systems. The reason that space is expensive today is the same reason that air travel would be expensive if we threw the 747 that brought us from London to LA away after every flight.

    It will be an incredible boon to humanity if we can bring the price of Platinum down from $1500 an ounce to a dollar a pound. These types of metals are fabulously useful and that type of decrease in price will explode demand due to the amazing uses that the PGM’s have.

  105. Finally, all the hype about nuclear power is worthless. Nuclear power is not the savior some paint it to be. Even if nuclear-based electricity were cheap and abundant, that is not the major power source for bettering the world. Sure, it turns on the lights and runs the electric motors, but it won’t move the ships, cars, trains, and especially the trucks. It won’t produce petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, plastics, and the myriad of other vital products for our consumption. And yes, I am aware of electric trains. They work in limited services, but not for long-haul freight.

    Yes, it will move the ships, the cars, the trucks and the trains. This is coupled to the PGM argument. When the price of Platinum and other PGM’s fall, the cost of a fuel cell will fall to much less than the cost of an internal combustion engine. Since a fuel cell is typically 50-90% more efficient than the internal combustion engine in turning stored energy (hydrogen) into work, the massive generation of electrical power will enable local production of hydrogen at fueling stations, which will the power cars, ships, trucks and trains with the only emission being potable water.

    Your arguments are those of the last century, come join us in the 21st century.

  106. Yes indeed! Let’s all send him a copy! And while we’re at it, encourage him to read Watts Up With That. He needs a little schoolin’ himself on where the self-proclaimed ‘climate scientists’ went wrong, and why.
    I would encourage everyone to do so. I have contributed to the American Solutions section at http://www.newt.org but there is much value in more than one person doing this.

    As a shameless plug, I also have a book on this subject, available at Amazon.com and I will have it in e reader form soon.

  107. woops, book name is Moonrush.

  108. Bart says:

    Roger Sowell says:
    December 11, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    “And, for those who discount solar energy, I suggest you consider the production of hydrogen via enzymes.”

    I agree with most of what you wrote. But, this part is moot. No matter how you slice it, instantaneous solar energy (as opposed to the kind that has been stored in oil deposits over eons of time) will never be more than a bit player on Earth because of the prohibitive surface area required to extract significant amounts of energy. No matter how efficient the process is, it can only extract something less than 100% of the intercepted radiant energy over half of the day, and reduced by another half if unless you can steer the unobstructed surface to track the Sun, and reduced further by cloudy days, etc… When you total it all up, you will find that impractical amounts of materials for the substructure and environmentally devastating sprawl would be required to make a significant dent in our energy appetite.

  109. Bart says:

    Let me add my stance clearly so there is no confusion: nuclear power is the only practical process with enough energy density to supplant fossil fuels as our primary source of energy. Nothing else can or will ever be more than a bit player. Energy density is the whole ball game. Fossil fuels have it, because of the aforementioned eons of time over which it was stored. Nuclear has it, because of E = mc^2. Nothing else does. Nothing.

  110. Bart says:

    Mr Lynn says:
    December 11, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Dave Springer says:
    December 11, 2011 at 5:15 am

    “…but he’s the only one in either party at that level with any imagination.”

    Mr. Gingrich went a long way toward winning my vote with that exchange.

  111. Mike Borgelt says:

    Dennis, don’t worry about Roger Sowell. He’s an anti nuke kook . It appears to be his religion.

  112. Smoking Frog says:

    Stephen Skinnner December 11, 2011 at 9:46 am
    Smoking Frog says:
    December 11, 2011 at 6:15 am
    “…Life expectancy at later ages has improved since the 19th century, but not nearly by as much.
    Example: For American white males: life expectancy at birth for those born in 2004 is 75.7 years, while life expectancy at age 60 for those born in 1850 was 15.6 years; i.e., the average 60-year old white male born in 1850 lived to be 75.6 years old.”

    Stephen Skinnner says:
    Yes, but that was for those that made it that far. And the average 60 year old was not the average. Thanks for the link by the way.

    Yes, of course, it was for those that made it that far. My point was that the vast improvement has been in survival at young ages. Many people don’t know it, and that’s why I pointed it out. For example, a person may imagine that the average 10-year old or 20-year old born in 1850 only lived to be 38. In fact, the average 10-year old lived to be 58, and the average 20-year old lived to be 60.

    It’s true that the average 60-year old was not the average, but neither was the average zero-year old. The average lifespan of white males born in 1900 was not 50; it was greater than 50. So the average 60-year old wasn’t far from the average.

  113. In te fifties I read tons of ScFi. Hyperdrive, Dirac transmitters, moon bases. You name it. Asimov, Arthur C. Clark. All of them. I simply knew that I would live the day they landed on the moon. I will never forget that day. July 20 1969. Watching it live on televison. Whats my point? Everything I had read missed an important point by miles. The whole world could see it live on television. So why would it be impossible to mine the asteroid? It might and it might not. The point is we should definitely not rule it out! That would be stupid.

  114. A little addon
    An estimated 500 million people watched the moonlanding live on television.

  115. Gail Combs says:

    TBear (Sydney, where it has finally warmed up, but just a bit …) says:
    December 11, 2011 at 12:12 am

    `… the emission of CO2 is being used as a tool to bludgeon the developed world into economic and political suicide’

    Stopped reading at that point.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Then start reading again!

    This is the best article I have seen on the internet in a LONG LONG time.

  116. timg56 says:

    First to Dennis Wingo,

    You made my day. I too grew up thinking the universe was out there for us.

    Next to Roger Sowell,

    Your statement that nuclear power can’t be used to power ships probably will come as a great surprise to the US Navy.

  117. Richard111 says:

    Otter says:
    December 11, 2011 at 6:48 am

    Robert E. Phelan says:
    December 11, 2011 at 7:03 am


    My apologies, I should have added /sarc to my post. I agree it is highly unlikely that global population will reach 32 billion by 2100, but only 6 billion? Well, the greenies are working on that. My point was based on the CURRENT population growth rate of a doubling every 40 years. This is one of the drivers for “global governance”, like AGW. Melting ice and sea level rises are frighteners to bring the mindless into the lager. A check of the energy requirements for a 1 metre sea level rise by 2100 would need extreme warming. Again unlikely, hence my use of the term “drivel” in relation to the lack of applied science in the doomsday scenarios

  118. Gail Combs says:

    Dave Huntsman says: @ December 11, 2011 at 9:54 am

    ….It is, simply stated, that there are problems with unlimited growth of carbon emissions in our biosphere that further drives increase in another potent greenhouse ‘gas’, water vapor; and these need to be recognized and their effects mitigated. The solution will involve a mix of better technological solutions and political will. To imply that ‘limits to growth’ and ‘transfer from wealth to poor’ nations are the main objects of the problem are ludicrous.

    …. It will almost always be cheaper- and quicker – to get more efficient on Earth, to recycle more materials, to capture more wasted energy, etc.

    The climate problem is real; the solutions are within our grasp -if we discuss and act intelligently. I honestly don’t feel this post fits into that description.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Excellent Article, Mr. Wingo. It takes me back to my enthusiasm when reading Science fiction in the 1960’s.
    ……

    An interesting comment by Dave Huntsman who from his comment I assume is the
    “…Dave Huntsman [who] has 35 years with NASA, including 10 years as a Senior Executive, and is with the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA HQ in Washington, D.C….”
    http://21stcenturywaves.com/2011/01/07/nasa-comments-on-phobos-and-space-sustainability/

    One can understand why NASA fizzled if Huntsman is the type of leader we now have at NASA.
    His stating “To imply that ‘limits to growth’ and ‘transfer from wealth to poor’ nations are the main objects of the problem are ludicrous.” is a typical politician’s lie that is easily proved.

    Obama’s Science Czar John Holdren, the person now in control of science policy in the United States, published a book describing the “De-development of the USA”
    http://grendelreport.posterous.com/obamas-science-czar-advocates-de-developing-t

    …In 1995, Holdren co-authored a chapter with Paul Ehrlich and Gretchen Daily—“The Meaning of Sustainability: Biogeophysical Aspects”–that was included in a book published by the World Bank….

    …what needs to be faced up to eventually (a world of zero net physical growth), what should be done now (change unsustainable practices, reduce excessive material consumption, slow down population growth), and what the penalty will be for postponing attention to population limitation (lower well-being per person).” [This shows Holdren's opinion has not under gone a change. gc]

    In their 1973 book “Human Ecology: Problems and Solutions,” Holdren and co-authors Paul and Anne Ehrlich wrote:

    “A massive campaign must be launched to restore a high-quality environment in North America and to de-develop the United States. De-devolopment means bringing our economic system (especially patterns of consumption) into line with the realities of ecology and the global resource situation. Resources and energy must be diverted from frivolous and wasteful uses in overdeveloped countries to filling the genuine needs of underdeveloped countries.”

    “The need for de-development presents our economists with a major challenge,” they wrote. “They must design a stable, low-consumption economy in which there is a much more equitable distribution of wealth than the present one. Redistribution of wealth both within and among nations is absolutely essential

    Holdren on forced sterilization, it is not against the constitution: “…Indeed, it has been concluded that compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution…” http://zombietime.com/john_holdren/

    In a book Holdren co-authored in 1977, the man now firmly in control of science policy in this country wrote that:

    • Women could be forced to abort their pregnancies, whether they wanted to or not;

    • The population at large could be sterilized by infertility drugs intentionally put into the nation’s drinking water or in food;

    • Single mothers and teen mothers should have their babies seized from them against their will and given away to other couples to raise;

    • People who “contribute to social deterioration” (i.e. undesirables) “can be required by law to exercise reproductive responsibility” — in other words, be compelled to have abortions or be sterilized.

    A transnational “Planetary Regime” should assume control of the global economy and also dictate the most intimate details of Americans’ lives — using an armed international police force.

    Impossible, you say? That must be an exaggeration or a hoax. No one in their right mind would say such things.

    Well, I hate to break the news to you, but it is no hoax, no exaggeration. John Holdren really did say those things, and this report contains the proof. Below you will find photographs, scans, and transcriptions of pages in the book Ecoscience, co-authored in 1977 by John Holdren and his close colleagues Paul Ehrlich and Anne Ehrlich. The scans and photos are provided to supply conclusive evidence that the words attributed to Holdren are unaltered and accurately transcribed…..

    Nice Try Dave but we are not the dumbed down serfs that “Progressive Education” has been trying so hard to create.

  119. Gail Combs says:

    The question that hits between the eyes is WHY the anti-technology crowd exists in the first place. Their existence is not by chance but by design.

    The answer is that a group of humans scrambling for a living is a lot easier to rule than a group of well educated individualists with leisure to think. Career politicians are not interested in the welfare of anyone but themselves. This is why John Dewey, father of “Modern Education” experimented to see how individualists and good little socialists are produced through our schools systems.

    The international bankers and transnational corporations are also interested in killing off the competition and getting rid of impediments like national borders, differing national laws and tariffs. Therefore the politicians, bankers and corporations all have the same goal, maintaining the status quo, killing competition and promoting a global government that they not we control.

    …In 1894, Dewey was appointed head of the department of philosophy, psychology and education at the University of Chicago which had been established two years earlier by a gift from John D. Rockefeller. In 1896, Dewey created his famous experimental Laboratory School where he could test the effects of the new psychology on real live children.

    Dewey’s philosophy had evolved from Hegelian idealism to socialist materialism, and the purpose of the school was to show how education could be changed to produce little socialists and collectivists instead of little capitalists and individualists. It was expected that these little socialists, when they became voting adults, would dutifully change the American economic system into a socialist one.

    In order to do so he analyzed the traditional curriculum that sustained the capitalist, individualistic system and found what he believed was the sustaining linchpin — that is, the key element that held the entire system together: high literacy. To Dewey, the greatest obstacle to socialism was the private mind that seeks knowledge in order to exercise its own private judgment and intellectual authority. High literacy gave the individual the means to seek knowledge independently. It gave individuals the means to stand on their own two feet and think for themselves. This was detrimental to the “social spirit” needed to bring about a collectivist society…. http://www.ordination.org/dumbing_down.htm

    The choice is reaching for the stars or a collectivist society. To politicians, bureaucrats and more importantly bankers it is not even a choice. An easy to control collectivist society wins hands down.

  120. Roger Sowell says:

    @timg56 on December 12, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Your statement that nuclear power can’t be used to power ships probably will come as a great surprise to the US Navy.

    I doubt the US Navy will be surprised. However, how many commercial ships use nuclear power? Very, very few, if any. It’s a matter of economics, as I wrote above. Nuclear power for propulsion is fine for a Navy (and even then it’s only used on a select few ships). Ever wonder why cruisers, and destroyers, and the smaller craft don’t run on nuclear power? I’ll stand by my statement, modified if you like, to allow for selected and very few uses in a Navy application. But the vast majority of ships will not ever be using nuclear power for steam or electricity.

  121. Roger Sowell says:

    @Bart on December 12, 2011 at 12:44 am

    When you total it all up, you will find that impractical amounts of materials for the substructure and environmentally devastating sprawl would be required to make a significant dent in our energy appetite.” – referring to solar-based hydrogen from enzymes.

    Even if your point were true, it is irrelevant. The primary concern is economics. Where sun is abundant, and fresh water can be found, and the economics allow for this source of hydrogen to displace coal or natural gas or nuclear, it will. It should, too.

    Wanting all our energy to be from one source is not a good idea. Competition drives down prices, spurs innovation, and improves the overall prosperity. That is another reason why all-nuclear for power generation is a bad idea.

  122. Roger Sowell says:

    @Dennis Ray Wingo

    Yes, it will move the ships, the cars, the trucks and the trains. This is coupled to the PGM argument. When the price of Platinum and other PGM’s fall, the cost of a fuel cell will fall to much less than the cost of an internal combustion engine. Since a fuel cell is typically 50-90% more efficient than the internal combustion engine in turning stored energy (hydrogen) into work, the massive generation of electrical power will enable local production of hydrogen at fueling stations, which will the power cars, ships, trucks and trains with the only emission being potable water.

    Your arguments are those of the last century, come join us in the 21st century.

    Mr. Wingo, you stated in your post that you wrote a chapter on Economics in a book on space exploitation. Presumably, then, you have at least a basic knowledge of economics.

    To quote your own words, “When the price of Platinum and other PGM’s fall,” do you really believe that space-mining of asteroids will occur? Our society is driven by economics – unless government mandates interfere. As I wrote above, and you conveniently ignored, no asteroid miner will go into business to bring back to Earth various minerals, only to watch the price collapse. If you truly believe the price won’t collapse, I invite you to pilot a spaceship and show us.

    You also apparently are unaware of the Achilles heel of space-mined minerals and returning same to Earth: the cost is prohibitive to run a shuttle or similar Earth-to-orbit spacecraft. Bringing the scarce minerals to Earth orbit is but one part of the problem. Bringing it to Earth cost-effectively is the bigger problem. This is well-known in space-literate circles. NASA and others are trying to develop a spaceplane but without success. Perhaps you can show them the way.

    And yes, this is the 21st century, but the physics of gravity, orbital velocity, density and depth of Earth’s atmosphere (all those silly 20th century problems that Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo wrestled with) continue to exist. No arm-waving or excited stuttering will change those problems.

    You have written a captivating story above, and to some, it may indeed seem plausible and inspire some to dream big dreams. However, there is no getting around the two problems I stated: 1) Earth’s gravity and its atmosphere, and 2) economic collapse when too much of a commodity is brought to market.

    Finally, your example of the price of aluminum completely misses the point. On the Earth, technology brought down the costs of not just aluminum, but most other materials and commodities. Exploiting large mineral reserves decreases the raw material cost, as the oil industry has demonstrated many times. Improved manufacturing, and larger factories also brings down the product’s price. Larger or more efficient shipping also brings down the price. These are well-known and very basic economic concepts.

    Even if a mineral asteroid was very large, that would decrease the raw material cost from having to prospect in space for multiple asteroids. Mining in space could be made efficient with sufficient experience and ingenuity, if the deaths in space are not a deterrent. Where the system fails, though, is as I stated already: economic collapse and getting the minerals onto the Earth’s surface.

    Mining the asteroids is simply pie-in-the-sky.

  123. But the vast majority of ships will not ever be using nuclear power for steam or electricity.

    Two words, Thorium Batteries.

  124. Mr. Wingo, you stated in your post that you wrote a chapter on Economics in a book on space exploitation. Presumably, then, you have at least a basic knowledge of economics.

    What I said was that I wrote a chapter on the economic development of the solar system as a core value of a national spacepower theory.

    To quote your own words, “When the price of Platinum and other PGM’s fall,” do you really believe that space-mining of asteroids will occur? Our society is driven by economics – unless government mandates interfere. As I wrote above, and you conveniently ignored, no asteroid miner will go into business to bring back to Earth various minerals, only to watch the price collapse. If you truly believe the price won’t collapse, I invite you to pilot a spaceship and show us.

    The price will not drop immediately, just as the price of Aluminum did not drop immediately after the invention of the Hall process and the use of cheap AC electricity from hydro power.

    The success of a business is not predicated solely on the price of a product, it is predicated on the difference between the total cost of production and the price a customer is willing to pay. This is why a terabyte of hard drive costs less than 1/5 what a megabyte of hard drive cost in 1981.

    Platinum is extremely valuable, not because it is a currency metal, but because of its intrinsic uses. From catalysts in the chemical industry, to the surfaces of a hard drive or an LCD monitor, platinum has utility value that goes far beyond its currency value. An example of this is a study done by the UK government a few years ago that showed that we simply do not have enough Platinum and Platinum Group Metals to enable a planetary switch from the internal combustion engine to the fuel cell. Demand is extremely elastic and is directly proportional to availability. It will take quite a while for the price to fall to a low level and as the uses increase and the profit is reinvested in space transportation (and other resources are found as well), the industry will be able to sustain a decrease in price. So, no I don’t think that a collapse will happen and even if it dropped today by 50% our benchmark in my book for PGM production is around $300 per ounce.

    You also apparently are unaware of the Achilles heel of space-mined minerals and returning same to Earth: the cost is prohibitive to run a shuttle or similar Earth-to-orbit spacecraft. Bringing the scarce minerals to Earth orbit is but one part of the problem. Bringing it to Earth cost-effectively is the bigger problem. This is well-known in space-literate circles. NASA and others are trying to develop a spaceplane but without success. Perhaps you can show them the way.

    I am quite well aware of the cost of sending things up hill from the Earth, having flown payloads on the Space Shuttle, Soyuz, and the Delta II. I was just in the plant at SpaceX down the road from your office in LA last week. The 9 kilometer per second gravity well of the Earth can be overcome by industrializing the 1.6 km per second gravity well called the Moon. The principal reason for the high cost of sending material up hill from the Earth is that they are valuable integrated systems that have to survive the shaking that happens in going up hill from the Earth. If you build your structure, pressure vessels and other heavy hardware on the Moon where there is plentiful Aluminum (from Anorthosite), Titanium, and other metals for use for reusable true spacecraft. When you have such an infrastructure you no longer must depend on these highly expensive and ground integrated systems. The payloads that go up hill shift to computers, electrical processing systems, and other payloads that can simply be stored in styrofoam or other energy absorbing material. This also shifts the payloads to smaller increments that are more compatible with a reusable launch vehicle that delivers the payload to a staging point (the ISS), in orbit that can then use lunar derived water or ion propulsion systems to move the payloads from low Earth orbit to an assembly point at Earth/Moon L1 or L2. Again, your thinking is of the 20th century.

    And yes, this is the 21st century, but the physics of gravity, orbital velocity, density and depth of Earth’s atmosphere (all those silly 20th century problems that Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo wrestled with) continue to exist. No arm-waving or excited stuttering will change those problems.

    All condescension does is reveal ignorance, not illuminate discussion.

    I stated already: economic collapse and getting the minerals onto the Earth’s surface.

    Your two examples have been dealt with. 2000 years ago iron was used for a currency metal, before that copper and brass. Profiability has never been about price alone, this is the error that has killed so many industries that silicon valley has figured out, it is about the difference between cost and price. Your thinking and arguments are of the last century. With the advances that we are seeing on a daily basis in robotics, 3D printing, and advanced materials processing, we space architects are transforming the field and bringing new ideas and processes that even now we are testing on the Earth for their eventual use in space.

  125. Jaco says:

    The problem I am seeing here is that we as humans are only for a short window on earth. In Earth’s existence the Climate have always change and will always change in days to come. We can shut Earth down and all technologies efficient and inefficient and the climate will still change. So what on earth are these people trying to do?

    Make money out of one group so the other can still pollute? Chasing food prices up so everyone on earth starve of hunger? Like not heating you house because what about the C02 when it is -4 outside and let your children die?

    People it is simple. PLANT MORE TREES if C02 is a problem. If you take something away put something back to balance the environment.

    Paying the UN money because you C02 levels are to high is NOT GOING TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM but will motivate corruption hence if it is not already the idea behind this “Emission Scheme”

  126. Keith Sketchley says:

    I agree with your points in
    “There are two critical assumptions that underpin the entire Durban conference as well as previous efforts; the first assumption is that we live in a limited world and that this wealth transfer and the immediate cessation of CO2 emissions is the only possible path toward a “sustainable” future. The second is that technology cannot solve the problem but politics can. What are these assumptions built upon and are they valid?”
    and your
    “Let us set as the requirements the following as well:
    1. Whatever solution is found, it must in the end result in a more prosperous world for all mankind.
    2. Whatever solution is found, it must also preserve individual liberty and provide opportunity for the further advance of mankind.”

    But I suggest that we are not reaching the limits of resources on earth, even directly let alone through substitution. (Resources out in space are a pie that can be reached in the sky, as backup.)

    Books that may be worth reading are “The Doomsday Myth”, “The Resourceful Earth”, and “The Ultimate Resource 2”.

    It seems the approach in your article is to say “suppose claims of the effect of CO2 are correct, are the alarmists’ solutions the only ones?” then show there are pro-human solutions.

    Political climate alarmism is based on classical ideology that humans are uncreative, unproductive, and untrustworthy. The world is evidence of the falseness of that theory – societies based on it cannot even feed the people they oppress, whereas societies like ours produce abundance to feed, foster, and extend human life.

    The key is to convince voters of the efficacy of humans for human life, so they elect politicians who have solid values and sound thinking skills.
    Doing that requires teaching thinking skills and sound values, instead of emotionalism based on guilt.

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