Re-enforcing the Supply lines

So… one man’s colossal miscalculation is another man’s a planet’s sped-up timeline for addressing climate change? I’m not trying not to see it that way, and energy efficiency guru Amory Lovins doesn’t need to convince me. But the winds are at somebody’s back:

Lovins, an adjunct professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, has been one of the world’s leading advocates and innovators of energy conservation for 50 years. He wrote his first paper on climate change while at Oxford in 1968, and in 1976 he offered Jimmy Carter’s government a blueprint for how to triple energy efficiency and get off oil and coal within 40 years. In the years since there is barely a major industry or government that he and his Rocky Mountain Institute have not advised.
But for much of that time efficiency was seen as a bit of an ugly sister, rather dull compared with a massive transition to renewables and other new technologies. Now, he hopes, its time may have come. Lovins is arguing for the mass insulation of buildings alongside a vast acceleration of renewables. “We should crank [them] up with wartime urgency. There should be far more emphasis on efficiency,” he says.
He sees Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine as an outrage, but possibly also a step towards solving the climate crisis and a way to save trillions of dollars. “He has managed to bring about all the outcomes that he most feared, but he may inadvertently have put the energy transition and climate solutions into a higher gear. Whether or not we end up in a recession because of the disruption, [Putin’s war] may prove to be a great thing for climate economics.”

As he explains, solar and wind are among the cheapest bulk power sources, and Putin’s authoritarian misadventure has put energy externalities in the center of the frame.

Again, it’s the boringest, not-technology solutions that have the greatest effect. And there’s a lot to reckon with in what he says about nuclear:

The most energy-inefficient design of all, he says, may be nuclear power, which is heavily subsidised, costly and pushed by a politically powerful lobby. Using it to address shortages of electricity or to counter climate change, he argues, is like offering starving people rice and caviar when it’s far cheaper and easier to give just rice.

Jim Carroll, 1949-2009

About 1989 or thereabouts, I was in college and kinda-sorta trying to help out some friends with their band in a ‘using my car and our apartment for whatever’ kind of way when they got the chance to open for Jim Carroll when he came to town to give a reading. Friggin’ Jim Carroll. We already loved him. I had read/recited A Day at the Races to my sophomore English class that same year, and was reading Forced Entries in tandem/sprinkled with Bukowski, biographies of Dylan Thomas and Kerouac in a way that made a sort of Beat stew out of almost everything that I was coming into contact with at that time, mostly in a good way.

So, of course we were completely psyched when they got the gig to open for him – a weird honor none of us were in any way accustomed to. Even though my friends had been playing shows for years by then, this seemed different, like they were on their way, stepping up into a league with people that we admired – not that our town wasn’t full similar types. But Carroll was older and cooler in a made-it-through-the-drugs way that I, at least, thought of on a different level than, say, talking to the Butthole Surfers’ guitar player at the T- stand. That kind of thing happened, it was Athens in the direct glare of late-prime REM, after all. But Jim Carroll. Man. Cool. Plus, ____ was just getting started and this seemed, in its way, hopeful about things we were just beginning to hope for.

So the date rolls around and we’re in the club that night early; they do a sound check. The sound man who wasn’t working had gone to airport to fetch Carroll and after a while, they roll in. JC seems cool from a distance and no one is crowding him – not the place or the time, though I’m sure we all wanted to. But one of the friends in the opening band that night happened to be near the back of the club where Carroll was hanging out. He introduced himself as a part of the warm-up act, but before he could leave it at that, JC let him have it.

He took what was extended of the youthful, if not tender, enthusiasm which had been cautiously if at all displayed, bent it into a balloon poodle and handed it back. He excoriated my friend about how completely %^*$ed the music business was then and for all time, how he had never encountered a more depraved, sick, twisted and retarded monstrosity even in his swampiest heroin fevers. He just went off. He said he had a band waiting for him in a recording studio in New York, all paid for a ready to go, and he would never, ever, enter that hellhole of business again. No matter what.

It was a great reading – he even whipped out A Day at the Races, amazingly. But none of the three or four of us who had been within earshot could compare it to his earlier, extemporaneous rant. It had been such a crazy burst of negativity that it could but only have been genuine. Priceless in a way that those kinds of things usually only turn out to be only kinda free. We mostly all stopped repeating it after a while, and it did nothing to deter any of those present from pursuing the desperately impossible monster of which we had been properly warned, and by a qualified elder. Nothing at all. D & E have even had successful music careers, and though the heart of the beast has changed in ways, it’s not because it has gotten softer. Those things JC warned us about probably only grew stronger in the ferocity of their truth. Actually he probably knew they would. Maybe that’s what he was saying.

And now he’s one of those friends. Rest in Peace, Jim Carroll. You tried to warn us.