When Physics Meets Politics

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PCI Executive Director's slide deck for a 30 minute presentation he delivered to a group of Democratic Party supporters, on the topic of why tackling the climate crisis is so intractable politically.

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When Physics Meets Politics

  1. 1. when physics meets politics why the last line of the climate crisis is here at home 1
  2. 2. 2
  3. 3. • insert photo of avi & eli 3
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  14. 14. three threads1. welcome to the “new normal” 14
  15. 15. three threads1. welcome to the “new normal”2. denial... it ain’t just a river in Egypt 15
  16. 16. three threads1. welcome to the “new normal”2. denial... it ain’t just a river in Egypt3. “e”s on the edge 16
  17. 17. the “new normal” 17
  18. 18. embed video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhCY-3XnqS0 18
  19. 19. the “new normal”"My sick joke is that Eastern Australia had average rainfallfor the last seven years. e rst six were the driest sixyears in the record books, and the seventh was feet deep inunprecedented oods. Such average rainfall makesfarming difficult." Jeremy Grantham 19
  20. 20. you are here 391 ppm 8 million metric tons 6 4 2 0 1750 1825 1900 1930 1955 1970 1985 2000source: Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center 20
  21. 21. * not my real grandmother 21
  22. 22. we need to be here 391 ppm 8 350 ppm million metric tons 6 4 2 0 1750 1825 1900 1930 1955 1970 1985 2000source: Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center 22
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  24. 24. not just a river in Egypt 24
  25. 25. declining concern Caused Mostly by Humans Not Real or Not Manmade 70% 60% 61% 57% 50% 47% 40% 36% 30% 20% 10% 0% 2008 2011source: Yale Project on Climate Change Communication 25
  26. 26. declining concern Environment Economic Growth 80% 71% 67% 60% 54% 40% 36% 28% 20% 19% 0% 1984 1991 1995 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010source: Gallup 26
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  28. 28. why deny?1. facts obey Einstein’s laws of relativity 28
  29. 29. why deny?1. facts obey Einstein’s laws of relativity2. Now always kicks Later’s butt 29
  30. 30. why deny?1. facts obey Einstein’s laws of relativity2. Now always kicks Later’s butt3. climate science = revolutionary science 30
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  32. 32. choices choicesone now? or two later? 32
  33. 33. viva la revolution? 33
  34. 34. why are environmentalists like watermelons? 34
  35. 35. “e”s on the edge 35
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  37. 37. US energy use 1705-2005 Biomass (Wood) Coal Natural Gas Petroleum Hydro Nuclear 100 80 quadrillion BTU 60 40 20 0 1705 1755 1805 1855 1905 1955 2005source: US Energy Information Agency 37
  38. 38. oil 38
  39. 39. oilcoal 39
  40. 40. natural gas 40
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  52. 52. good riddance, right? 52
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  54. 54. evaluating alternatives- size of resource- infrastructure requirements- convenience of use- environmental impact- renewability- scalability- location of resource 54
  55. 55. 0 :1 25 :1 50 :1 75 :1 100 :1 domestic oil (1930) coal (2005) hydro-electric imported oil (1970) domestic oil (1970) rewood imported oil (2005) wind natural gas energy return on energy invested nuclear domestic oil (2000) solar photovoltaics tar sands biodiesel55
  56. 56. the tough reality There is no credible scenario in which alternative energysources can make up for fossil fuels once declines begin. 56
  57. 57. • insert photo of avi & eli 57
  58. 58. resiliencethe ability to absorb shocks and continue to function 58
  59. 59. crisis = opportunityThis is the biggest opportunity of our lifetimes. Who will seize it? 59

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