I've said before and I'll say again that conversations like mine with Mark Mills are what I value and wish we had more of. We do our research, we have strong opinions, we agree on many things, we disagree on some things we care about. Most of all, I believe we learn from each other, respect different opinions, and try to understand the other's view and goals. In this conversation we talk about his book and the challenges of predictions at first, The most interesting parts are challenging each other on our understandings of our environmental problems and what we can do about them. We agree most proposed solutions that humanity is pursuing don't work and people are misguided. We differ on our expectations in what can work between technology and people. He has me opening my mind to some things I'd be closed off to otherwise, in part because he's not just spouting opinion or blind hope. He's done the research. I believe I have too.
After I've read his recent book The Cloud Revolution, Mark and I continue our conversation on sustainability and what to do based on qualitative and quantitative understanding. I've also been listening to his podcast. I came to Mark for his thoughtful research on the problems with solar and wind power, which people call clean, green, and renewable but are none of the above. I mainly want to get his views in general, which he shares. Within that frame, and trying as a host, not an investigative journalist, I've tried to focus him on exposing the larger problems with fossil fuels, nuclear, fusion, and other sources. He doesn't seem to consider their problems seriously. I hear him motivated by the view that lower energy prices and greater supply have benefited society and the concern for society breaking down if energy prices increased or supply decreased. Regular listeners know I find huge potential life improvements in lowering energy use and that I see significant problems with our lives and future if we stay with oil, gas, coal, nuclear, and fusion so I support decreasing energy demand and supply, as I've lived and am living. As you can hear, we two physics-trained examiners of our environmental situation enjoy our conversations. I expect it won't be our last.
Mark and I share more highly researched, thoughtful conversation on human welfare and the environment. We see things differently, but I consider our conversations the type we should have more of. This session we cover The book Limits to Growth as well as the concepts underlying limits to growth Earth's carrying capacity How much wealth is consumed by food and fuel, now and historically, and how much it's dropped How the low cost and high availability of energy has allowed us to devote more money for other things, inventions, and life improvements What is pollution? and plenty more.
Mark is a physicist who went into business around the environment. There aren't many of us, so I think you'll hear a rapport we enjoyed that I think you'll enjoy too. We indulge in physicist talk. I contacted him because I found his reports on what solar and wind---what I don't see how we can call renewable, green, or clean energy sources---require in their manufacture, transportation, installation, decommissioning, and more. Many fans of such technologies gloss over their problems, which seems to me irresponsible. If we are not honest about them we will make mistakes. Partisanship is a problem when there are testable answers to how much a particular solar installation or strategy to lower emissions works. Mark looks at possible futures but also returns to what's happening today, what works now, not just in the future. He looks at what's going on behind the scenes that can be measured. I recommend reading his work I link to below. We talk about the book Limits to Growth, I welcome his views though, for the record, don't find it as wrong as he does. I consider its systemic approach essential and didn't view its simulations as predictions so much as learning what patterns our global environmental and economic system could show. I use solar, but don't consider it a long-term solution. I also don't think things like nuclear and fusion work long-term either, but we didn't get to that topic. We'll continue our conversations, though, which I look forward to.