There were a few things in this podcast that struck me. The first was the summary of the thesis of Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. Societies collapse because one of the 3 following things happen:
- They don’t think there is a problem
- They think there is a problem, but think it’s someone else’s to solve
- They think there is a problem, know it’s theirs to solve, but take ineffective action
This describes how lots of things fail, not just civilizations. I’ve seen so many software projects fail on premise #1 and #2. It seems simple, but as a framing it’s pretty good at classifying where things are stuck.
Efficiency is not sufficient
A lot of the talk was about how we’re going to need to change the built world. We hear a lot of talk about efficiency, which is good, but not sufficient. When it comes to the efficiency of cities, dense infill near transit hubs ends up far surpassing any retrofitting of buildings. Building cities around the idea of decreased car miles is super critical.
Will pipelines carry Hydrogen in the future?
One thing I did not realize is that a lot of our city level infrastructure for the methane/natural gas network existed before natural gas was widely used. It used to carry Coal gas, which is a mix of a lot of things, but notably 70% hydrogen. This means that the city level infrastructure could be reused to supply hydrogen gas in a future where we don’t want to be burning methane.
There was lots more in the episode, and I’ll have to listen to it a second time because it was so informative. Not everything fits in my brain going over it only once. You can listen to the whole episode on the Commonwealth Club site.