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Jorgen Randers Spoke at UAlbany

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Jorgen randers

Jorgen Randers is clearly a world class speaker, not because of his style or presence though he is humorous, grandfatherly and polished, but due to his experience and depth of study in the area of climate change and global interactions. It was a very excellent presentation.

BUT, his "all knowing" ability to forecast the next 40 years he gave a very deterministic view of what will be. He joked, but it was depressing.

I cling to some hope and the belief that there is much we can do to change what the results will be over the next 40 years and more importantly the trajectory on which we leave the world in 2052.

Specifically, I believe there is still much unknown about energy availability. Randers and his small group of friends who charted energy to-be may have hit it on the head or maybe not. Here is an interesting article that points to a wide range of near-term energy views.

And, I believe how the world treats coal will have a huge impact on his “Pollution” scenario over the next 40 years.

While I found his presentation and forecast depressing, my fear is that if we don't do a lot more than we are doing now, we will find that his forecast was indeed optimistic.

One thing Jorgen and I agree on is to build smaller homes with thicker walls!

What were your impressions and thoughts? What did you take away?

Comments on "Jorgen Randers Spoke at UAlbany"

  1. OEIC default avatar Eliot Rich February 09, 2013 at 10:25 am

    I agree that Randers has an attitude of certainty.  Having spent so much time with this stuff over the last 40 years gives him a chip on his shoulder.

    His predictions appear deterministic, but they are based on models with explicit and documented assumptions, as was LtG.  Unlike forty years ago, however, now the end points appear to converge, regardless of many sensitivity tests.  He provides his models and his data to you to look at and make your own conclusions. So one way to decide if you agree with him about coal and transitions is to ignore the persona and look at the data on energy use and sources and his assumptions.  Or put in others. 

    I want to believe that things will be different, and hope is an important motivator.  Even the less cataclysmic perspective of Randers requires more than hope (See his co-author Meadows’ recent talk at the Smithsonian for a drearier prediction). 

    His models are not rosy, but that’s not new.  His message is that we should think and act in ways that support a slower overshoot and reduce collapse.  Right now, many of our ideas appear to support a solution in the short term, but worsen the long-term situation (advocacy of immediate drilling, building more nukes) reduce the short-term pain and accentuate the problem later. We can act in ways that accept inevitable change, and work with what we can do to slow the emergence of poor outcomes. 

    Eliot Rich, UAlbany Professor

  2. Dan Gibson's avatar Dan Gibson February 11, 2013 at 11:38 am

    I have just started to read the book, 2052, and couldn’t help but go ahead and look at the end (I haven’t done this since 7th grade, no not once till now!).

    Randers closes with, “There is only one more thing for me to say: Please help make my forecast wrong. Together we could create a much better world.”

    I feel much better about the hope I cling to and about the man! I hope this helps those who attended the presentation too. Cheers, Dan

  3. OEIC default avatar Eliot Rich February 11, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    Glad to hear it.

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