Here Is Your “Absolute Zero” Future, Serf

The image above (click to enlarge) is from a report titled “Absolute Zero” [PDF, 31 pages], issued in November 2019 by UK Fires, a collaboration between the universities of Cambridge, Oxford, Nottingham, Bath and Imperial College London, funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

The report’s executive summary begins with:

We can’t wait for breakthrough technologies to deliver net-zero emissions by 2050. Instead, we can plan to respond to climate change using today’s technologies with incremental change. This will reveal many opportunities for growth but requires a public discussion about future lifestyles.

We have to cut our greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050: that’s what climate scientists tell us, it’s what social protesters are asking for and it’s now the law in the UK. But we aren’t on track. For twenty years we’ve been trying to solve the problem with new or breakthrough technologies that supply energy and allow industry to keep growing, so we don’t have to change our lifestyles. But although some exciting new technology options are being developed, it will take a long time to deploy them, and they won’t be operating at scale within thirty years.

Continuing into specifics:

The two big challenges we face with an all electric future are flying and shipping. Although there are lots of new ideas about electric planes, they won’t be operating at commercial scales within 30 years, so zero emissions means that for some period, we’ll all stop using aeroplanes. Shipping is more challenging: although there are a few military ships run by nuclear reactors, we currently don’t have any large electric merchant ships, but we depend strongly on shipping for imported food and goods.

In addition, obeying the law of our Climate Change Act requires that we stop doing anything that causes emissions regardless of its energy source. This requires that we stop eating beef and lamb - ruminants who release methane as they digest grass - and already many people have started to switch to more vegetarian diets. However the most difficult problem is cement: making cement releases emissions regardless of how it’s powered, there are currently no alternative options available at scale, and we don’t know how to install new renewables or make new energy efficient buildings without it.

The big chart at the top summarises the detailed analyses in the body of the report. So, serf, what does your life look like in 2050?

  • No air travel
  • No beef or lamb
  • No concrete
  • No international ocean freight shipping
  • Small electric cars only
  • No new roads
  • No oil or gas fired heating or hot water
  • Colder rooms in winter
  • Border controls / tariffs based on emissions
  • More manure, less fertiliser in agriculture
  • Tripled electricity production, mostly from bird choppers

Does this sound appealing? This is the conclusion of what is required to adopt what is the official, enacted policy of the United Kingdom, adopted by its “Conservative” government and parliament.

And how will this new style of life be enforced upon the populace? Let’s listen to J. Michael Evans, president of Red Chinese technology company Alibaba Group (and 20 year Goldman Sachs veteran), speaking on 2022-05-24 at the recent Slaver Festival in Davos, Switzerland. Note that’s all “consumers…they…they…they” and not “people…we…we…we”. This is for the serfs, not the lords.

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I really hate these people John. I have said elsewhere that the best thing about the world ending and societal collapse is that I might get the chance to bayonet one of these ghouls and watch the life drain from their pathetic little eyes. I have dibs on Klaus.

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It is apparent that all those not in attendance at w.e.f. are kulaks-in-waiting. Sound familiar?

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Who knew? Autodesk, Inc., the company I co-founded in 1982, has a vice president of “ESG and Impact”:

Here is his post on 2022-05-10, “Accelerating Carbon Management for our Customers, Industries, and the Globe”.

Read the whole hilarious thing, but here’s a taste—just the first two paragraphs.

Here’s a quick thought experiment: what if society doesn’t address climate change? Answer: The world will go on without us. Yes, the planet will be warmer, inhospitable and more climatically dangerous, but the biosphere will adapt. Climate change is an existential threat—but only to people. If we humans disappeared from the planet, the earth would be just fine.

As someone whose job it is to focus on business solutions for societal problems, I think about this all the time. We need to stop climate change because of the impacts it will have on future generations. Hence, the urgency I feel as I lead Autodesk’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) and impact work. And the satisfaction I find in knowing we are providing our customers with tools to turn the tide on global carbon emissions.

He then directs reader to the “Autodesk FY22 Impact Report” [PDF, 83 pages], which is one of the funniest things I’ve read issuing from that company since the 1985 “Prime Time” advertisement copy (which, to be precise, we did not issue since I put the kibosh on it after I stopped laughing after reading it).

From page 52 of 83:

Transgender and nonbinary inclusion

In addition to Autodesk earning a 100% rating and designation as a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index, the Pride ERG formed an initiative to provide peer mentorship and advance inclusion for transgender and nonbinary employees. In partnership with the Culture, Diversity & Belonging team, during 2021 the group helped expand options for pronoun visibility across Autodesk employee directories, worked to evaluate access to all-gender restrooms in offices globally, and collaborated with the company’s benefits team to remove any remaining restrictions on gender-affirming health benefits under our primary US insurance vendors.

When I designed Autodesk’s original letterhead (the address was my house in Mill Valley, California, which was our original premises), it read:

“Excellence in Computer Software”. That was early in 1982, about four decades ago. Who-da-thunk that forty years on, “expand[ing] options for pronoun visibility” would be a priority alongside that.

Back in the day, we had all kinds of weird and wonderful people working for Autodesk. I doubt they have anybody today as “diverse” as Captain Crunch or any number of others I could cite. I was on record having said about hiring programmers, “I don’t care if they sleep hanging from trees and drink blood. If they can write great code, we want them here.” Reducing the candidate pool by excluding people based on any other criteria was just stupid and, since an ambitious company surfing on the edge of extinction can’t afford to be stupid, we didn’t do that.

Of course, this Autodesk leader of the “Impact team” which excreted the above-cited document, Joe Speicher, has a dumbeard™.

There’s stupid, and then there’s California stupid.

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“All-gender” – not just “both gender”. Mr. Speicher is a real go-getter!

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