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State sponsored monopoly away from use value (feeding people) toward creating profits for corporations. $5 trillion/year is spent in direct and indirect subsidies to fossil fuel/nuclear energy producers (David, quoting IMF).

[Tokar start 2017]

  • Good news re: renewable energy-moving faster than once thought possible. Up to 30% in some areas.
  • Fossil fuel consumption already beginning to level off. Rate of growth of energy consumption is beginning to level off.
  • Policies that will lead to banning of internal combustion vehicles in next 10-20 years: France/UK/India/some European car companies.
  • Green City designs.
  • Food system: poised for rapid transition. World Hunger 10 Myths: world produces enough now to provide every human being with 2900 calories per day-just from the “leftovers”. Doesn’t include grain for feed or ethanol. 1 of 4 calories are wasted. Places high hunger rates are actually net exporters of agricultural products! Ex: India
  • Organic agriculture is possible, more resilient. Yields higher in polycultures; Permaculture; sequestration of carbon through right combination of crops (carbon farming).

Feasibility of transition

Energy: Already 30& renewable in many locales; Foss. fuel consumption leveling off

Transportation: Bans on internal combustion vehicles in several countries; carmakers like Volvo pledging to phase out sooner


  • Food First numbers re: plenty of food is being grown (2015 edition of Lappé/Collins' World Hunger 10 Myths)
  • Organic advantage, adaptability + polycultures vs. monoculture
  • Permaculture & carbon farming (Eric Toensmeier)

Capitalist obstacles:

  • A. Lovins' long advocacy for a 'business-centered' transition vs. what we know about profits vs. efficiency as capitalist priorities.
  • A. Malm's insights (last full chapter of Fossil Capital).
  • Public vs. private investment strategies.

Also Brian added 6 docs. to the ReconstrucTexts folder on Dropbox for yesterday’s class, but it may be more useful to put them in the folder for next week, perhaps?

4 Mark Jacobson articles:

  1. Original Scientific American summary from 2009
  2. 2 papers from Energy Policy (2011) providing supporting evidence
  3. 2015 paper documenting strategies for 50 US states, as summarized on his website,

2 by Andreas Malm:

  1. Summary article covering the basic arguments from his book, from Historical Materialism (2013)
  2. Chapter from the end of his book on obstacles to renewable energy under capitalism

I’m not sure what’s out there in English on the European green cities project I mentioned, but here’s an Italian and a German site:

[Tokar end]

[Schwartzman start 2017]

  • Germany: total energy 13% renewable, electricity is 30%
  • Solar Communism: must be international. Eco-socialist transitions will look different all over the world.
  • Hardly a place on Earth that has not been impacted by human activity.
  • Both quantity and quality of energy that is critical to post-capitalist society. “How Much Energy Does Humanity Need? And What Kind?”
  • Solar is most abundant source of energy. Using low entropy radiation to do work. Two hours of solar radiation to the Earth's surface =total global primary energy consumption by civilization (18 trillion wattyear) in one year. Solar power is least controlled by military/industrial complex so available for local organization. Must control the transition under capitalism to maximize protection of health and ecology.
  • Unprecedented opportunity to prevent catastrophic climate change. Must also rapidly decrease use of fossil fuels after reaching plateau or we are doomed (Current level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (400 ppm) must be brought down and stabilized to a safe level, below 350ppm in this century).
  • Humanity likely needs more energy than we use now - 18 trillion wattyear, to eliminate existing energy poverty; make possible industrial sequestration of carbon from the atmosphere (the only form of industrial geo engineering that is imperative); Potentially most important technology (combining carbon water with the right kind of rocks, e.g., basalt which is high in Ca, Mg and Fe silicates).

[Schwartzman end]

[Murphy start 2017]
Added to the Dropbox at /ReconstrucTexts are some excerpts from the Conclusion to Jeremy Davies's The Birth of the Anthropocene, including this - “The rough transition out of the Holocene has seen the deadening or searing away of one ecological community after another. Its keynote environmental effects have been depatterning and subordination to single authorities. In the clear-cutting of forests; the draining of wetlands; the damming, dredging, channelization, and eutrophication of rivers; the exhaustion, salinization, contamination, and erosion of soil; bottom trawling; strip-mining; and the ever-expanding imposition of precarious, input-saturated monocultures, complex ecologies have been dispersed and simplified in order to tame them into servicing the extractive demands of international capital. To negotiate the transition in a just and bearable way, what is needed is to maximize the countervailing presence of plural, diverse, and polycentric ecosystems. Speaking very generally, the hardships of the transition can be cushioned by fostering variegated communities of life, dense with competing biogeochemical pathways. The most resilient ecosystems, just like the most flourishing civil societies, tend to be those that function as a conversation between many different voices….” [Murphy end]


[Schwartzman start 2017] In year 2117 my great daughter Claudia (named after Claudia Jones) and great grandson Fidel (named after that giant of the 20th Century) are living in a newly emerged mature global civilization, reaching the stage of Solar Communism. There are no remaining disparities of health, education, quality of life in any region of human civilization. We have now left prehistory behind. The history of Fossil Capitalism with its core the “Military Industrial (Fossil Fuel Nuclear State Terror and Surveillance) Complex” is now available on display in the Museum of Prehistory on personal quantum computers with the computing power of early 21st Century supercomputers, along with full access to the libraries of the world.

All energy is now provided by solar power, mainly in the form of highly efficient thin-film photovoltaics invented in 2025, requiring no rare elements for its manufacture. Most of these photovoltaic arrays are on the roofs and sides of buildings in green cities, with power supplemented by open ocean wind farms and concentrated solar power in less than 5 percent of desert areas around the Earth. Electricity derived from these renewable energy sources power all the needs of humanity, with public transit largely replacing electric cars, now a relict of the mid-21st Century. The power level of human civilization is now 30 trillion watts, almost double the level of the early 21st Century, with energy poverty terminated, with every child born now living to the maximum life expectancy possible (averaging now 110 years, with options for much higher levels being explored using cyberborg technologies). Air travel continues powered by electricity stored in ultra-capacitors and carbon-neutral hydrocarbon fuel synthesized from water and carbon dioxide. The biosphere is largely cleaned up, including the legacy of the Military Industrial Complex, chemical, radioactive and plastic wastes (especially in the ocean) utilizing this renewable energy infrastructure along with bacteria and fungi digesters and accumulators obtained by experimental selection of microbes obtained from deep sea sediments. Radioactive wastes are now safely contained in deep sealed mines in Precambrian bedrock, mainly in Canada and Siberia. As a result of recycling powered by the solar infrastructure, mining has ceased on the Earth's surface, but continues for rare elements on the Moon, where the only fission reactors are sited, for power and production of radio-isotopes for medical purposes. Ongoing carbon sequestration of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere continues, although its level is now safe at 330 ppm, necessary because of the legacy of anthropogenic carbon dioxide stored in the ocean, continuing to equilibrate with the atmosphere. Agriculture is now completely in the form of agroecologies, using molecular biology to select the most productive organisms along with their symbionts from preserved biodiversity, rather than the early corporate driven GMO technologies. Most food is now grown in cities, including vertical farms, and in a perimeter of about 100 kilometer area. Human and animal wastes are digested and cycled back into these farms. Meat production from killing animals has ceased, with meat substitutes being synthesized in factory production, but not living animals. Of course, carnivores are still eating herbivores in a globally managed biodiversity.

Global political economy has of course been radically altered, utilizing the best insights and experience of the movements from the last three hundred years, in particular ecosocialist/communist/green/anarchist/indigenous peoples movements, which along with the legacy of the women's and Black liberation movements informing a reinvention of the prefigurations created under the rule of capital. The “white race” is no more, this social construct of white supremacy so important to the reproduction of the hegemony of capital to be terminated in the 21st Century, with the notorious example of the Trump regime (Trump died of a heart attack in 2019, apparently from overindulgence of fast food and steaks eaten in his hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue). The terms “race” (applied to humans) and “multiracial” are obsolete, just as the “Third World” of the 20th Century. All discrimination based on gender, sexual preference and disability is outlawed, with violators subject to social therapy.

Social governance of the political and physical economies is now in place on all scales, facilitated by quantum computers.

In 2103, a weak signal from the Galactic Club was detected after a search for over a hundred years, with an invitation for Planet Earth to join. This invitation was responded to immediately, YES WE ARE READY! Schwartzman's scenario was realized as outlined over a hundred years ago in 2010 (SETI Redux: Joining the Galactic Club: (With special acknowledgement to the inspiration of W.W. Wagar and Ernst Bloch, along with all my comrades).

David: Solar Communism has prevailed and the Earth uses 100% renewable energy. Energy poverty is eliminated in the world. Every child born expects the highest quality of life and life expectancy. Everyone inherits the bio-diversity we have now. By 2117 CO2 levels are less than 350ppm, warming was stopped at less than 1.5 degrees celsius, humanity and the earth have adapted to these changes. Most of the world exists as bio-diversity preserves. Healthy, green, urbanization was used to concentrate human activity and relieve nature. Heavy use of vertical farming and suburban food production. We ended mass production of grain for fuel and feed. Earth has been invited to join the Galactic Club, which screens out civilizations that are not yet ready. We finally earned an invite! [Schwartzman end]

[Murphy start 2017] Northeastern US folks are living in small-scale cities on waterways - former de-industrialized and depopulated areas. Agriculturally and transportation rich areas. Built at “human scale”: walkable and self-propelled vehicles paired with limited public transportation leading to increased overall health. Examples, Troy, NY, Danbury, CT. Breakdown between city and countryside. Community interaction and communication around food and manufactured goods exchanges. Contact brought back to human level. [Murphy end]


[Schwartzman start 2017] Under “really existing capitalism,” solar is also the energy source most compatible with decentralized, democratic management and control, relatively free of the dictates of the Military Industrial Complex (MIC), compared to fossil fuels and nuclear power.“ And further closely related is my scenario 2 in “4 Scenarios for 2050”, “Between 2015 and 2020, large-scale implementation of high-efficiency thin film photovoltaics, low-cost capture of ocean currents, and high-elevation tapping of wind energy begins to rapidly decarbonize global energy supplies, radically undermining the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) because of the growing availability of very low-cost clean energy, which requires virtually no rare strategic metals.” [Schwartzman end]

[Greeman start 2017] Here we describe how positive elements like a growing climate justice movement, the increasing cheapness of solar, wind, etc. consumers organizations and such combine to provide alternatives, where slowly but surely alternate energy is gaining ground, where the oil giants, in a frenzy to protect the value of what would be their stranded assets if oil were left 'in the ground' commit every more disastrous spills in a race for profit spark mass opposition, where these factors combine with global labor strikes and popular revolts that lead to REVOLUTIONARY Emergence on a planetary scale, at which point, through decisions of global federations a world-wide plan to replace carbon with renewables is put in place and revised over time, leading to NOW. [Greeman end]

[Tokar start 2017] Movement of movements, like the Commune; Municipal activism-secede from the system. Defensive battles need to reorient, be more proactive. Community conversations about what people really want and need. Reduction of dependency. Early years of the organic movement/food coop movement were seen as part of the resistance. Providing healthy food so people can be revolutionaries. Inspired by the memory of these relationships and the leadership of Standing Rock protesters, the alternative lifestyle folks become politically activated. [Tokar end]

[Schwartzman start 2017] States moves subsidies to renewable energy sector. Three-pronged strategy: Carbon farming; Industrial carbon sequestration from the atmosphere; and rapid reduction of fossil fuel use. [Schwartzman end]

energy.txt · Last modified: 2018/11/04 12:26 by admin