lvturner 10 days ago

I was hoping to find this in the first paragraph or so, but ended up looking elsewhere -- hopefully this helps those who are as apparently unaware as I:

"A global polycrisis occurs when crises in multiple global systems become causally entangled in ways that significantly degrade humanity's prospects. These interacting crises produce harms greater than the sum of those the crises would produce in isolation, were their host systems not so deeply interconnected"

https://cascadeinstitute.org/technical-paper/what-is-a-globa....

  • buscoquadnary 9 days ago

    I appreciate the definition at first I thought this had to do with some sort of interaction between Southeast Asians and the Polynesians.

    • jonny_eh 9 days ago

      Or they were lacking in polymaths

  • CountSessine 9 days ago

    Thanks for this. My first suspicion was that it had something to do with crypto.

  • refurb 10 days ago

    This seems like a definition that isn’t really needed?

    • EdwardDiego 10 days ago

      Seems like you'd be wrong.

      • refurb 9 days ago

        Please explain? We'd had multiple, interdependent crises in the past, but apparently, until now, we were ok just calling them "multiple crises".

        What changed?

        • viscanti 9 days ago

          "multiple crises" could be crises that are dependent or independent. "polycrises" tells the reader that the focus is on the subset of multiple crises that are dependent and likely have complex interaction effects.

        • ianai 9 days ago

          They’re pointing out nonlinear combinations of negatives from multiple crises. Economies of scale, to inappropriately borrow a term, in the wrong direction. The definition absolutely is needed.

          • tuatoru 9 days ago

            > Economies of scale

            Synergy is the word. The combined effect being greater than the sum of its parts.

        • ElevenLathe 9 days ago

          Why do we need the word "automobile"? Can't we just say "horseless motorized carriage"? Why call it a "computer" instead of an "electric brain"?

          • refurb 9 days ago

            I expect polycrisis to go the way of "water closet".

            • ElevenLathe 9 days ago

              Personally, I like William Gibson's coining of the "Jackpot."

sn41 9 days ago

While I share the general concern about climate change, talk of population collapse in South Asia is all too familiar to be taken seriously at face value. In fact: life in South Asia has slowly been improving since Independence. Before independence, famines involving millions of deaths were common [1]. The one called "Chalisa Akaal" was particularly devastating. [2]

In the 75 years since independence from Britain, IIRC there has been only one major famine in either India, Bangladesh and Pakistan taken together, the 1970 famine in Bangladesh just prior to the 1971 war. Green revolution has been a great boon.

Doom and gloom about an overpopulated South Asia is common. On the other hand, perhaps the reason why the region is so populated is that it has historically been very conducive for human habitation even using very low technology.

Where I believe most predictions have got it wrong is the ability of humans to adapt. I hope with John McCarthy, that science and sense will be able to overcome such dire crises. [3]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Famine_in_India

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chalisa_famine

[3] http://jmc.stanford.edu/commentary/progress/index.html

  • rayiner 9 days ago

    Life in Bangladesh has completely transformed even since I lived there in the mid 1980s. My dad laments that it’s too crowded and kids in his village don’t know what it’s like to take a boat to school anymore during monsoon, but progress has happened rapidly.

    Energy is the critical thing. We don’t have space for wind mills and solar panels. I’d love to see Pan-Asian cooperation on nuclear. Regrettably, I think all that will have to happen through alignment with China. The west is captured by Malthusian thinking, and their solution is “less brown people,” not “more energy, more infrastructure, more production.”

    • prottog 9 days ago

      > The west is captured by Malthusian thinking

      It's been almost 200 years since Malthus's passing and the human population has octupled since then, so you'd think that most people would give him less credence, but you're right those ideas seem more popular than ever.

      I keep on repeating on this forum that the way out is through, with better technology allowing us to consume more energy per capita, not less. There is no freezing or turning back the clock without the suffering of billions.

      • onlyrealcuzzo 9 days ago

        Read A Farewell to Alms.

        Malthus's thinking was objectively correct up to the time of writing. He just made & recorded the observations at almost exactly the wrong time, right before the trend reversed, during the industrial revolution.

        I'm not claiming that we have reached a new era where - once again - growing population = worse living conditions.

        But there are a lot of good arguments WRT to limits on fossil fuel extraction, physical limitations on technological progress, etc...

        Light bulbs can't get much more efficient. Neither can electricity transmission. Energy generation still has a healthy amount to improve. Maybe there's enough progress left to be made for the population to double again.

        But the idea that the population could be near infinite on this planet and that would only lead to more progress and better living conditions is laughable.

        There's clearly some limit.

        My crystal ball isn't working. I don't know if we've passed it, or are even close to it...

        • bryanlarsen 9 days ago

          There's lots of room to improve electricity transmission. Local generation is more efficient than remote generation.

          This is especially important in poor rural areas. Build somebody a natgas generator and they're dependent on you for fuel. Build them a nuclear plant and they're dependent on you for experts. Give them a solar panel and now they independent.

          • onlyrealcuzzo 9 days ago

            Assuming they don't need electricity at night or when it's cloudy and they only need one solar panel's worth of electricity and they don't live in a condo where they have nowhere to put it...

      • tarakat 9 days ago

        The World Lost Two-Thirds Of Its Wildlife In 50 Years. We Are to Blame - https://www.npr.org/2020/09/10/911500907/the-world-lost-two-...

        > There is no freezing or turning back the clock without the suffering of billions.

        Do you believe developed countries with below-replacement fertility are suffering? Or does "turning back the clock" refer to something other than population shrinkage?

        • rayiner 9 days ago

          > Do you believe developed countries with below-replacement fertility are suffering?

          Yes. Life in parts of the western world where below-replacement fertility has really taken hold is lonely, atomized and self-centered. People anesthetize themselves with entertainment and distractions. I love Germany and Japan, but in some ways it makes me a bit uncomfortable. They're societies that will be much smaller 100 years from now than they re today, and they know it, and it is kind of awkward. Closer to home, I visited Garland, TX, during the pandemic. The contrast from DC, where I live, was remarkable. Garland was alive! DC was dead.

    • foobarian 9 days ago

      > and their solution is “less brown people,” not “more energy, more infrastructure, more production.”

      Sadly (or ironically?) the solution might be "less people" through "more energy infrastructure and production." I.e. development for whatever reason seems to drive population growth down, to the point where most of the west is losing population.

      • ElevenLathe 9 days ago

        This is the absolute best-case scenario for humanity: advancing technology allows us to develop the poor parts of the world with green energy and stabilize population voluntarily rather than through a series of apocalyptic wars and famines. As far as nature goes, the market will clear one way or another (unless we destroy the biosphere entirely and turn Earth into Venus).

    • tarakat 9 days ago

      > The west is captured by Malthusian thinking, and their solution is “less brown people,”

      Ironic then that brown people is the only group still growing in the west then:

      America’s white population declined for the first time [..] Meanwhile, there was significant growth among minority groups over the last decade. - https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/aug/12/us-2020-cens...

    • enraged_camel 9 days ago

      >> The west is captured by Malthusian thinking, and their solution is “less brown people,”

      Not sure why you believe this. Antinatalist and child-free movements have exploded in popularity in the west.

cercatrova 10 days ago

Let's also not forget that the Indian subcontinent will be too hot to feasibly live in in the next 50 to 100 years. As someone who came from there, there is no way I'd go back to live in India given that fact alone, not to even mention any others.

  • FlyingSnake 10 days ago

    Doomsday predictions about millions dying in India is an age old trope since 1947. You could find such tropes in "Moon is the harsh Mistress" or "Le Camp des Saints" which sounded like the doomsday scenarios being talked about in this very thread.

    While I understand that the climate change will hit India hard, (I witnessed it this summer personally), I still think we should not be quick to jump to assuming the destitution of millions as if it was a simple matter of statistics.

    I have faith in science, human resilience and ingenuity and I tend to believe that the future doesn't have to be so grim and humans will find a way.

    • signal11 9 days ago

      > Doomsday predictions about millions dying in India is an age old trope since 1947

      I agree a lot of these scenarios are 'doomsday', but the risk is real and hard to plan for / budget.

      You're effectively fighting history (Indus Valley and its history with climate change), and human biology -- you cannot be outside when wet bulb > 35 C even if you're fully healthy. For older / less-well people, > wet bulb 31 C can be a problem. And India will be very middle-aged by 2040 with an increasing older population.

      You're also fighting greed. Bangalore was told, repeatedly, that building apartments in flood plains wasn't smart. The message was ignored. Heck, even after the recent floods, it's unlikely this policy will change. India has a construction boom right now -- this is happening elsewhere too.

      Managing these within budgetary constraints and the large population impacted will be challenging. It's not doomsday by any means -- e.g. the Konkan coast will probably be fine. But what happens when Vidarbha (already relatively poor and home to extremely cruel summers) gets worse -- can we stop people from migrating en masse? How will you stop millions of people internally migrating in a country with no border controls?

      How this gets worse: Forget about en masse migrations. That's doomsday you say. Okay. But even a small uptick in migration figures will have massive consequences for already-overstretched Indian cities.

      > I have faith in science, human resilience and ingenuity and I tend to believe that the future doesn't have to be so grim and humans will find a way.

      Faith is great, but India hasn't invested in good urban planning or healthcare (the scenes in small-town India in early 2021 come to mind). To be fair, many other countries haven't either.

      So the pessimist in me says that a Katrina-style or 2022 Pakistan-style floods event can be especially traumatic for such countries.

    • toss1 9 days ago

      Well before the '08 financial crisis, I started noticing that whenever I looked at the world through the lens of science and innovation, the future looked insanely bright, but whenever I looked through the lens of politics, it looks like we're sooo screwed.

      The next decade and a half, with the rise of authoritarianism and populism, and the clear and miserable failure of the Grand Experiment — that openness and trade would bring liberal democracy to authoritarian states like RUS and CCP — merely make it even more obvious that governance is forked, and not in a good way.

      Overall, it looks like the technology trend is from 1) barely possible, to 2) scaled up and dirty, to 3) scaled up, efficient, clean, and sustainable. We're sort of moving from Stage 2 to Stage 3.

      But, can we get there in time? The disaster is already upon us, faster than expected, and there are a number of tipping points and feedback loops just starting to come into play (e.g., lower reflectance at the poles, melting permafrost set to release gigatons of stored methane which is ~22x more potent a greenhouse gas than CO2, etc.).

      The politics are obviously decades behind where they need to be, and the VC money is only beginning to see the opportunity in clean energy after focusing for decades on worthless internet trends instead of real hard innovation. Will it still be enough for some breakthrough as the mountain we must climb becomes even steeper?

      • kiliantics 9 days ago

        If you looked through the lens of science for the last few decades, you would also have seen a growing alarm over the climate/ecological crisis that has been developing, evidence for which was well established since the 70s and earlier. Not insanely bright if you ask me but actually pretty bleak really and nowadays down right abysmal.

        • toss1 9 days ago

          Yes, I saw that, mostly I was thinking about the new developments, and the pace of those developments - it seemed that we could easily outrun it. But, the political will seems lukewarm, at best.

    • dsr_ 9 days ago

      Humans have trouble finding a way to live in wet-bulb temperatures above 36C. Being in the shade and properly hydrated is not enough.

      • bryanlarsen 9 days ago

        Humans thrive in Houston which has a similar problem. They thrive through pervasive air conditioning and spending very little time outside.

        It's a crappy solution for many different reasons but it does seem to be the direction we're heading.

        • signal11 9 days ago

          Houston is hot, but wet bulb temperatures > 35 C (95 F) -- different from standard air temperature -- are a different story.

          Afaik, for healthy humans, staying outside > 35 C (not 36 C) for even long durations is physiologically impossible. Even healthy humans have trouble from 31 C (87.8 F).

          I don't have access to historic wet bulb data, but Houston appears to be in the mid-70s[1].

          Places which have wet bulb temps > 35 C essentially shut down outside. You can use air conditioning indoors, but unless you have a Fremen-esque suit for outdoor workers, you can kiss outdoor activity goodbye in the daytime.

          In reality this mean the place essentially shuts down during the day. E.g. in Pakistan last year[2]. Being interested in history, I'm particularly mindful many historians speculate that climate change was responsible for ending the earliest known civilization in this area[3].

          [1] http://cms.ashrae.biz/weatherdata/STATIONS/722430_p.pdf

          [2] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/climate-and-people...

          [3] https://www.whoi.edu/press-room/news-release/climate-change-...

          • FlyingSnake 9 days ago

            Citing Jacobabad as an example of upcoming wet bulb apocalypse is bit disingenuous IMO. It is one of the 2 hottest cities on the planet and routinely sees temperatures upto 52˚C. Maybe it is due to it's geographical location at the end of the Tharparkar desert and has a hot desert climate?

            Two things stand out from the article you shared.

            > it is an agricultural hub fed by irrigation canals.

            John Jacob used his civil engineering skills to build the Begaree canal which made this possible. It was an arid semi-desert landscape before that for centuries.

            > The region sits on the Tropic of Cancer, meaning the sun is close to overhead during the summer.

            So do Bikaner, Agra, Aligadh, Lucknow etc along with half of India, but they've never had a wet-bulb scenario in history like Jacobabad had. I will search for the data, but so far nothing comes up.

            I understand the threat of climate change is real , but I would love to see more data that supports this wet bulb theory in the subcontinent.

            • signal11 9 days ago

              Fair enough. Jacobabad is absolutely an edge case. The question is, is it just an outlier or are other places headed that way? Are the conditions that drive up wet bulb temps increasing, thanks to human activity?

              E.g. the number of Indian cities inching towards high 40s (Celsius) is climbing. Heck, New Delhi this year saw 49 C air temps, which was unheard of. But re wet bulb temps, the trend is troubling[1].

              Plenty of Indian cities are crossing wet bulb > 31 C, which puts the elderly and infirm at risk when they're outside. Yes -- going from here to > 35 C is a big leap, but if you say it cannot happen that's ... a "hope for the best" mindset.

              Who knows, nothing might come out of it, but if the climate change models are correct, there's more pain ahead.

              Let's take a midpoint scenario between 'absolute best' and 'absolute worst' and assume summer wet bulbs increase slightly over time, not enough to breach 35 C. That's still temps in the 31...34 C range in major Indian cities, that basically makes it hell for the elderly and infirm. What are the social costs of that? Bear in mind, despite India's progress, it still has a fair number of people with limited means. And the number of elderly in India will grow over time as its "youth bulge" tapers off.

              [1] https://archive.ph/sPVL2

          • bryanlarsen 9 days ago

            That sounds like Houston. Outside work is done in the early morning and outside play is done in the evening. During the middle of the day everybody stays inside in air conditioned buildings or vehicles.

            It's the wealth of Houston that makes this possible. Pakistan and India will adapt it as soon as they're wealthy enough. It'll come at a lower wealth point than Houston because their problem is more severe than Houston's.

            • signal11 9 days ago

              > That sounds like Houston.

              I think it's a little different. Houston by your account struggles in the afternoons today -- similar to parts of Spain and Portugal, but it's only at peak wet bulb ~75..76 F going by ASHRAE[1] data. Wet bulb 88 F is much worse, and 95 F is really when the human body gives up.

              Again, this is wet bulb, not air temperature.

              But if anyone has peak wet bulb data for major US cities, please share! It'd be an awesome resource.

              [1] American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, https://www.ashrae.org/

        • saiya-jin 9 days ago

          I don't think you understand Indian reality. AC is, was and will be luxury in places where entire villages are cut from electricity randomly and for a long time. They don't have any network capacity to handle tons of ACs. And hundreds of millions are still so desperately poor they wouldn't be able to afford one and run it anyway.

          • bryanlarsen 9 days ago

            India went from 5% with air conditioning in 2017 to 13% with air conditioning in 2022. It's projected to hit 69% in 2040.[1]

            It's also well suited for solar power, and the price of solar power has dropped 90% per decade for the last 5 decades, and that trend looks to continue.

            Getting air conditioning to most Indians is a difficult problem, but it's an easier problem than solving climate change or accommodating 1.3 billion climate refugees.

            1: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&c...

    • mschuster91 10 days ago

      > I have faith in science, human resilience and ingenuity and I tend to believe that the future doesn't have to be so grim and humans will find a way.

      Unfortunately, if humanity wants to prevent that outcome, we would have to start doing massive changes now.

      Relying on "humanity will find a way to work around in 30 years" is foolish, simply because when the expected progress doesn't happen in this time frame, humanity in 30 years is going to have to commit much more effort and resources than if current humanity would start now.

  • s5300 10 days ago

    What do you think will happen to the bulk of the population in this time?

    • cercatrova 10 days ago

      Those who are rich enough (or those who seek asylum and are accepted) will leave, and those who are not able to leave will literally roast alive. We are already seeing this today [0], so in 50 to 100 years, the temperatures will be such that no human will be able to live there anymore.

      [0] https://www.worldweatherattribution.org/climate-change-made-...

      • jl6 10 days ago

        I would imagine that a catastrophic and sustained rise in temperatures would disrupt agriculture, reducing food production to the point where people starve to death before they roast to death. And in practice people don't just sit there and starve to death - they migrate, with the cooperation of other nations or not.

        A lot depends on the rate at which migrants arrive, and where they go. If the migration is towards northern Asia, spread out over 100 years, with only a few tens of thousands arriving each day, Russia will probably be able to manufacture bullets in sufficient quantity. If 1.5 billion Indians descend all at once, nothing will be able to stop them.

        These are extreme outcomes. There are so many other possibilities that could be negotiated. Perhaps India will gain economic leverage through exporting solar power, and be able to strike a deal to resettle some of its migrant population elsewhere.

        • tuatoru 9 days ago

          > disrupt agriculture

          I understand temperatures are already within a few degrees of the point that proteins in rice and wheat pollens get denatured (cooked, effectively).

          Maybe new heat-tolerant strains have been developed since I looked, but I doubt much could withstand 55 celsius throughout flowering.

      • s5300 10 days ago

        Do you think we’ll actually see 500mil+ die in India directly from heat & heat related issues in the next 100 years?

        I’m very much starting to think we may, but I’m at least hoping they may be able to save themselves from catastrophe via nuclear energy & engineering.

        • cercatrova 10 days ago

          I do think so. Nuclear energy is great but it doesn't take carbon already in the air, so technologies would need to be developed for that. I am a techno-optimist but we are on the precipice in terms of how much time we have left.

          • jokowueu 10 days ago

            I think what he means is using nuclear energy and engineering to reduce heat stress on the population (ie air conditioning etc)

            • AstralStorm 10 days ago

              Well, that would also require mechanization and changes to farming practices on a truly massive scale. (Either forests, huge tents or adapted crops with high mechanization.) Housing would have to be vastly improved as well as to not leak the cold out.

              I'm not seeing India fielding the cost. Those already well-off would manage anyway... But the rest, which is the majority, is the problem.

              • empiricus 10 days ago

                The technology already exists to efficiently transform solar power into sugar. If needed, and with 10-20 years of improvements, it should be possible to feed everyone with 100x less agricultural land usage.

                • coldtea 10 days ago

                  When places are hit hard - like in this example from climate change - there usually are no "improvements" and "efficiency tranformations" either: in the downturn, tons of energy is spent in sustaining what's there, and there are no money or resources to spend on new infrastructure.

                  (And as other countries are also hit, they don't go much for charity or building other's infrastructure, it's "every man/country for himself").

                  To put it simply: when things go to shit is not the time when new infrastructures are built.

                  • empiricus 9 days ago

                    Completely agree. I am just thinking that it should be possible to make standalone units, which should be able to produce food from air. Units that do not need any infrastructure. Which is a new concept. The alternative is to try agriculture in unstable environments, or depend on continuous help from outside. Of course there is still a need for rich helpful countries to develop and build these fictional devices.

        • mongol 10 days ago

          Even if it plays out that way, I wonder if it plays out slowly or fast. For example, it could play out as increased rate of death due to cardivascular issues, somewhat "invisible" over time, or that people die in droves on particular hot days. In the end, it is terrible in both ways, but the perception in news etc would be different.

    • addicted 9 days ago

      People will migrate to other countries or other parts of their own countries leading to war and strife.

      You can already see this happening in parts of Africa.

    • winReInstall 10 days ago

      They will try to migrate northwards - right into hostile neighbours (china or pakistan), which will escalate into conflict. Regional nuclear exchange.

    • mellavora 10 days ago

      Well, obviously they will do the responsible thing and clean up all their hazardous wastes before they migrate north.

  • godmode2019 10 days ago

    1 degree isn't really going to do very much is it?

    That's the current best estimate for warming in the time period you are suggesting.

    India has a bigger problem with feeding it's population which is likely to be the biggest in the world by that point.

    To suggest to the most populated place in the world in 2050 will have no people is hyperbolic.

    The gates foundation has the best estimates on this topic and their estimates also suggest growth in the region.

    • hikingsimulator 10 days ago

      Thinking about climate change as an increase of mean temperature is misleading. And this is such a case.

      While the mean temperature rises, e.g. by 1 centigrade, you have to account for variance increasing too.

      India might become unlivable not because the mean temperature rises, but because extreme, deadly events will become standard during certain periods of the year.

      • godmode2019 9 days ago

        You are changing the goalpost making a hyperbolic statement seem reasonable. Read what they said, its borderline hysteric.

        You are agreeing with it not on the merits but on the premises.

      • kortilla 10 days ago

        People live in Phoenix. It has extreme deadly events every summer. Boston has extreme deadly events in the winter.

        Get a heat pump or an air conditioner and move on.

        • viraptor 10 days ago

          The context here is India. It's got half the under-3yo-s underweight, dealing with a significant number of malnutrition deaths, and with a quarter of the population surviving on <$1.5 a day. Even if the cost wasn't an issue, lots of homes are still not electrified. (they're close to 100% of people with access to electricity) Get a heatpump and move on, you say?

          • kortilla 9 days ago

            > electrified. (they're close to 100% of people with access to electricity) Get a heatpump and move on, you say?

            Yes, electrification is a solved problem. Look how quickly the US electrified rural America, and that’s when it was a new concept. For a more recent example of using known technology, look at how quickly China electrified from the 80s-00s.

            • viraptor 8 days ago

              Ok, so that's one issue, which will be hopefully solved sometime in the next decade or two. What about everything else making this solution unaffordable to both buy and run for a significant part of the population? And what people while the electrification is happening?

        • ehnto 10 days ago

          Oh my god you solved it, can't believe we didn't think of air conditioners! So silly, alright pack it up everyone crisis averted.

          We can't air condition the crops and our animal stock. We probably can't even air condition all the humans in every location. Texas can barely keep it's grid going right now.

          • bawolff 9 days ago

            Do crops need air conditioning (honest question)?

            I appreciate not everything grows in hot conditions, and there is a point where nothing will grow, but i would assume india would still be in the range where some things will grow, even if it sucks for humans.

            • ehnto 9 days ago

              There are already places where humans live that crops won't grow, so humans will likely endure more than our crops will. At least for the crops we currently grow. But it's more nuanced than just temperature. With increasingly extreme weather events that last longer, even in places where crops can grow, they will get wiped out more frequently. Think of increased instances of drought, flooding, wildfire etc. Even just too high winds, heavier rains, hail and increased instances of icing/wind chill will be impactful for food supply.

              We already see this too, depending on whether or not we choose to blame climate change there have been a number of weather events impacting the supply and price of various farmed goods. Lettuce became somewhat of a luxury commodity in Australia due to recent flooding, for just one example. That sort of thing will become more frequent.

          • kortilla 9 days ago

            The Texas grid is running fine. Rolling brownouts a few days a year is completely livable and is only an inconvenience if you’re already used to a super stable grid.

            Anyway, my two examples were Boston and Phoenix, which are on more stable major grids.

        • dsr_ 9 days ago

          On average, a human is a 100W heat source. It is much easier to insulate against excess loss to a cold environment than to refrigerate it in a hot environment.

          • kortilla 9 days ago

            This is true, but the meta point is wrong. It’s far less energy to air condition 110F down to 80F than to go from 0F up to 65F. The energy required in cold climates for heating is far far greater than what it takes to air condition in our hot environments.

            • dsr_ 8 days ago

              If you were in the vacuum of space, you would be correct. You are not trying to bring an insulated apartment-sized block of space on the ISS up from 0 to 65 or down from 110 to 80.

              You are trying to change the temperature in an insulated apartment-sized block of space in an effectively infinite ambient environment which is either 0 or 110, while one or more 100W heaters is moving around in it. There's conduction and radiation and convection, all helping out or hindering.

              • kortilla 8 days ago

                I’m talking about real world energy usage. It takes far more energy to heat Minneapolis, Boston, New York, etc than it does to air condition Southern California cities, Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson, etc. The only reason the grid doesn’t struggle in the winter is because many of those heat sources are not electric (wood pellets, gas furnaces, boilers, heating oil, etc).

                People don’t live in perfectly insulated boxes and even the best insulation that is actually livable (doesn’t suffocate you) will let through more than the 10MJ a person gives off through the course of the day. For context, a plug-in space heater is 1500 watts and that struggles to maintain the heat in a well-insulated 300 sq ft shop when it’s under 40F.

                Humans shouldn’t be living in the cold if you care about energy consumption. It’s just so normalized and we figured out how to burn wood so long ago that nobody thinks twice about it.

        • EdwardDiego 10 days ago

          Ineffectual handwaving at it's best! I'm impressed.

    • viraptor 10 days ago

      The estimate is for climate and is a world average. The actual weather is expected to get more extreme on both ends, so that means India is looking at higher temperature swings up in the summer. No citations because I'm on a phone but they're not hard to find.

    • hackerlight 10 days ago

      People die from 99th percentile heatwaves, not mean changes.

braindead_in 10 days ago

> And India’s steps to secure its food supplies by limiting first wheat and sugar and now rice exports have sent shock waves through the global food economy.

I wonder if the farm reforms which was later revoked could have made it much easier for India to handle the food crisis. It was one of the most significant reforms enacted, but Modi was forced to back down. But looks like there'll be no choice left but to push it through if the situation worsens.

  • unmole 10 days ago

    > I wonder if the farm reforms which was later revoked could have made it much easier for India to handle the food crisis.

    How? If anything liberalised agriculture would have incentivised growing crops other than rice and wheat.

    • omegalulw 9 days ago

      Crop rotation is agriculture 101 at this point. A diversity in crops being grown could very well lead to higher yields overall, including that of rice and wheat, even if they are not grown as often.

      • unmole 9 days ago

        Rice and wheat are seasonal. Crop rotation is already baked into the Rabi-Kharif cycle. The idea that reducing acerage will lead to higher yields is wishful thinking.

testemailfordg2 10 days ago

Crisis in India & China could be the deciding factors for a polycrisis. People can easily sideline the weightage of this factor, by pointing to their low per capita GDP when compared to other western & developed countries. Covid has shown that if factories in China are closed while the world is open, theb there would be inflation across the world because of decrease in supply. The fuel to this fire of inflation would be food export bans from countries like India, which have more than a billion to feed first and additonaly war in countries like Ukraine and Russia, further impacting food production / logistics around it.

concordDance 10 days ago

It's annoying how the rhetorical "one third of Pakistan underwater" has been repeated as fact even though a quick glance at a topological map shows that to be impossible for values of "underwater" that mean "comes up to your ankles at least".

  • EdwardDiego 10 days ago

    How is that impossible according to topology?

    Maybe there's some context like "1/3rd of the bits where people live is underwater".

    Like, my country is roughly the same size as Germany. But the relevant context is "but 90% of our landmass is hills or mountains, so only 10% of our land is actually inhabited"

    So yeah, 1/3 of what...

  • refurb 10 days ago

    Never let eyeballs you grab during a crisis go to waste (not see an ad).

paganel 10 days ago

Industry is shutting down all over Europe [1] but no-one yet talks about a "poly-crisis" around these parts, it's like we're sleepwalkers, all it's fine as longs as we don't actively talk about it. And who-ever protests the causes behind it is labeled as a left-winger or right-winger (or both at the same time), and called an ally of Putin.

I had expected Tooze to also write about it, after all the book that made him famous, The Wages of Destruction [2] (which I heartily recommend, I've just finished reading it), touched heavily on the Nazis' quest for energy resources. This time around Europe decided to cut itself off from said energy resources out of its own volition, never read of anything like that happening before in the context of a war.

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/19/business/europe-energy-cr...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wages_of_Destruction

  • tuatoru 9 days ago

    > Industry is shutting down all over Europe [1] but no-one yet talks about a "poly-crisis" around these parts...

    The core of Europe is not suffering from extreme political dysfunction and crippling inability to export enough to pay interest on foreign debt. Yes,it has had heatwaves, droughts, and floods, but not on the same scale as South Asia's.

    Europe's crisis is food and fuel prices, not famine, epidemic diseases, and transport and industrial paralysis (anecdotes notwithstanding). Not nearly the same.

    The polycrisis is poly because it combines economic, political, physiological (medical/food), environmental, and infrastructural (power, transport fuel) crises.

  • yodelshady 10 days ago

    Europe's crisis is wholly self-induced; a deliberate decision to switch off in favour of coal (Germany), or defund (France), or delay replacement of (UK) nuclear power stations in a region with cold dark winters and not the almost embarrassing excess of oil of Canada/Texas/Russia/Venezuela.

    That's it. A power grid cannot be allowed to fail and no financially credible projects to store the required amount of energy (minimum, tens of TWh) exist, so renewables in such an environment have left us wholly dependent on gas. Nuclear fuel can be stockpiled, wind simply cannot, again at the required scale. If you think it can be within the next 30 years you're an idiot, a liar or a data scientist, it's that simple.

    And yes, I've been to engineering conferences in EU where almost the entire topic now is "how do we minimise the damage from unreliable power". It takes zero financial acumen to realise the capital cost of the plant is not decreasing, the output is, and the best case is a reduction in output proportional to the interruption in power. That is the best case, much more frequent is a far greater loss of product. Quite a few people, myself included, were visibly on the verge of crying, because the writing is on the fucking wall. Quite honestly, the Energiewenders do not seem to give a shit, nor do they seem to about Germany's reversion to coal, a move that permanently make's Europe's position on the world stage re climate change laughable.

    This is not a Russia-induced crisis - comedy shows were mocking the certainty of Putin using gas as a weapon fifteen years ago. This is entirely self-induced.

    • mschuster91 10 days ago

      France didn't defund their nuclear industry, quite to the contrary, and neither did the Brits.

      The problem is that the EPR is a fundamentally flawed design that led to serious time and budget overruns wherever it was attempted - Flamanville, Olkilouto, Hinkley Point C, Taishan all have fallen victim to that.

      Additionally, you are completely ignoring that nuclear plants need cooling - and the lack of said cooling water is what has been impacting France and Switzerland as well over the last weeks.

      > A power grid cannot be allowed to fail and no financially credible projects to store the required amount of energy (minimum, tens of TWh) exist, so renewables in such an environment have left us wholly dependent on gas. Nuclear fuel can be stockpiled, wind simply cannot, again at the required scale. If you think it can be within the next 30 years you're an idiot, a liar or a data scientist, it's that simple.

      There are alternatives: Pumped hydro for storage, battery parks for ultra-short-term demand smoothening (like the Tesla battery park in Australia), bio-mass/bio-gas as fuel for burner plants (think of cow dung, sewage sludge, household bio waste and the likes), electric cars as distributed energy storage units, or simply a massive overbuild of renewable electricity generation and trans-European UHV distribution networks to get, say, wind power from the Portuguese coast to the German industry in the Ruhrpott - China already does similar distances ffs.

      Additionally, it's high time to make the demand side smart as well: big consumers like aluminium smelters or parts of the chemical industry could be converted to dynamically react to the power available on the grid, extremely large consumers could be placed on seasonal holidays (e.g. during winter), and large consumers could also finally take the money in their hands and invest into energy efficiency so they don't need as much energy any more. A shocking amount of industry equipment is three decades or even older!

      And finally: Right now the European electricity grid has almost zero real-time visibility. The "smart meters" we have are bullshit, they're just used once a year and all "advantage" they have over the old Ferraris wheel meters is that they have an LCD - for a truly smart grid, grid operators need a live feed of who is consuming or producing what amount of energy and what the exact load conditions of grid-side equipment like sub-district transformers are.

      • EdwardDiego 9 days ago

        Your post is great, but I'm not sure about the aluminium smelters being dynamic - IIRC once they deactivate a pot, it's done, it can't be reactivated.

      • Manuel_D 9 days ago

        > Additionally, you are completely ignoring that nuclear plants need cooling - and the lack of said cooling water is what has been impacting France and Switzerland as well over the last weeks

        No, it's restrictions on river temperature. https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/warming-rivers-threa...

        Not to mention nuclear plants can be cooled by sea water or by waste water.

        I don't think you appreciate the scale of energy storage. The world uses 2.5 TWh of electricity every hour. And electricity is less than half of total energy use. And as countries develop these figures are going to rise, not shrink.

        If your solution involves shutting down industry because of insufficient energy production, then that's going to have a cascading effect of making good more expensive, and making products using those gooda more expensive. It may very well be that nuclear is cheaper than renewables when the cost of economic shutdowns due to insufficient energy are taken into account.

    • EdwardDiego 10 days ago

      You were on the verge of tears over a lack of nuclear? Did I read that correctly?

      • Manuel_D 9 days ago

        If the US continued to build nuclear plants at the same pace it did in the 1960s and 70s we'd have reached 100% nuclear generation by 2010. The world would be in a much better place.

  • bryanlarsen 9 days ago

    The European crisis will likely end up making them stronger.

    - They're not just making themselves independent from Russian gas & oil, they're making themselves independent of American and Middle Eastern gas & oil too. The resulting price stability will provide massive benefits down the road.

    - Wind & Solar energy costs up front but has 0 fuel cost and little maintenance cost. Energy at essentially 0 marginal cost is going to pay dividends for a long time...

    - The Ukraine crisis has united Europe like hasn't been seen since the end of WW2.

    This winter will suck, but if Europe can stick together until spring, they'll be well positioned for the future.

2-718-281-828 10 days ago

What would be a realistic prognosis for Thailand and its peninsula?

  • winReInstall 10 days ago

    Singapore approach, basically arcology with a local state alliance to protect a comon border?

hunglee2 10 days ago

the petro-dollar system really screws energy importers - an interest rate hike from the Fed is an economic Godzilla, a random event which turns up to casually destroy the entire country

rejor121 10 days ago

China has been going through something similar. The river is drying up due to no rain. Electricity black outs has forced factories to shut down by government decree.

winReInstall 10 days ago

Jared Diomands: Collapse comes to mind, were island nations that overpopulated were taken down by a crisis of dependency.