I really would not like to check if that hypothesis is true the hard way.
(sarcasm of course)
Why should I waste my time trying to change the world, thinking about it when I'm just a randon civilian that have barely enough to donate to an ONG? Why should I waste my life for other people that don't care at all and enjoy theirs?
> Why should I waste my life for other people that don't care at all and enjoy theirs?
You are legit asking the question every single public servant has ever asked ever. How much do you actually care? If it's enough, then do something about it and get in government. If it's not, then so be it: you'll have to deal or try and elect politicians who show they actually recognize that our current methods are atrocious.
> my government keep promising to make taxes on these but don't do anything, what should I do?
Elect different politicians. If they can't get enough votes, try and convince people around you. If that doesn't work, run yourself.
I know this may sound condescending - not my intention at all. I've just had the same thought process and my only real conclusion was:
1.) I could be apathetic and not care. This is what most people do. This works fine - I can be happy.
2.) I can work my self to death to try and improve things. If it doesn't work, at least I know I tried. If it does work, then I have succeeded.
Just depends where your priorities are mate. Some people don't have option (2) at all. It's your call now.
Personally I think that governments have been irresponsible and shifted these policies onto the people because they're unpopular. No one wants to be the guy instituting a carbon tax because there's plenty of anti-carbon tax rhetoric out there ready to annihilate you. Something you can do right now is start getting rid of that rhetoric. Informing yourself so you can take on those arguments with people might be another option
The fact is, I can't fight global warming with my own actions. Collective actions are required, and they need to be fairly substantial sacrifices on the part of society. Coordination problems on a national/global scale are just not a thing we're good at solving without force of arms.
Enterprises that cost trillions of dollars are a thing we have the luxury of affording; All we would need to do is get supermajority agreement on the subject.
I am out of ideas for how to convince the world to drastically draw down our fossil fuel use. Everything has been tried.
It has become a cliche that our problems cannot be solved by technology alone, but this one really may be up to technology alone. Human nature is not going to change.
That avoids the issue of a possible decrease in the standard of living, and provides an affordable mechanism that doesn't involve coal for India, Indonesia and other countries that need to build out their electric grid.
Lots of good info here:
Video from ThorCon CEO making his case:
Thorium may end up as a good viable option eventually, but I suspect that it'll probably never be more than a niche option for as long as most of us are likely to be alive.
Oh, and that 20 years? "Hi regulatory body, we'd like approval to build a brand new type of nuclear reactor in your state, close enough to a major population center for transmission losses to not be too high. What do we need to do to make that happen?"... And that's before you get to the billion+ of construction costs even if the new reactors only cost 10% of current designs.
I will eat my words if in a few days South Texas Nuclear generating station melts down (because its being hit by a category 4 hurricane as I type this).. But right now the technology we _HAVE_ is sufficiently safe.
Our ability to 'do things' used to be so limited, but is now growing quickly.
The gap between our nature and our ability to change the environment around us is, I think, the root of many of our problems.
Entrenched, monied, existing political ties to fossil fuel and extraction industries still exert control. I'm not willing to take the position there's nothing we can do until we've fully shaken them off the backs of our political system.
I agree completely that tech investment is a much easier political sell than reducing the standard of living.
People passively use fossil fuels because they are the norm. It will take investment from both our government, from private industry, and from grassroots activists pressuring both to make the norm clean and sustainable.
The "norm" is whatever is cheapest. That is what we have to do: make renewables cheapest.
1. Interstate expressway system
2. Oil and gas pipelines
3. Fracking R&D
3. Direct tax subsidization of private refining and exploration.
We need that level of effort applied to renewables development.
This is what I was alluding to about technology. If we can make clean energy significantly cheaper to use at scale than fossil fuels, then the world will use it.
More realistically, we need to make it cheaper to build new renewables than to keep using existing fossil fuel sources.
Fossil fuels are only 'cheaper' because governments have become irredeemably corrupted by fossil fuel interests, so none have to face public liabilities for the damage caused by their products. The apparent 'cheapness' is a consequence only of fraudulent accounting. This is a specific case of the more general 'Pollution Paradox', viz. "The more polluting a company is, the more money it must spend on politics to ensure it is not regulated out of existence" (George Monbiot).
This makes 2 assumptions which I find to be false.
1) Any drop in the standard of living is bad. e.g. I don't need to be freezing in a store in the middle of summer.
2) Less energy use necessitates a drop in the standard of living. e.g. using energy more efficiently via lights and insulation.
2) Efficiency gains can help, but shaving off some excess here and there will not prevent a climate catastrophe. It will take drastically less fossil fuel use. I don't see that happening unless technology makes renewables cheaper than fossils. It's hard, but it's possible.
So why aren't we using nuclear?
We could conceivably swap out carbon for nuclear though. Just not carbon for [more expensive energy source]. People get antsy even when economic growth slows. A drop in the standard of living is political suicide.
I don't think we're very well psychologically equipped to deal with this.
Nuclear power is literally orders of magnitude cleaner/safer than anything else, and yet the fear mongering continues and the idealistic environmentalists are pumping more CO2 into the atmosphere with every NG turbine installed to backup the wind/solar plants. Just the other day I heard a talking head repeatedly referring to "the old dirty coal and nuke plants".
Some scientists, however, held out hope that there would be a key offsetting process: As the Arctic warms, it might also stow away more carbon as it becomes greener and supports the additional plant life, particularly in tundra regions. This “Arctic greening” is indeed occurring, but the new research suggests that the permafrost losses in early winter are more than enough to offset that.
I think the idea is that the C stored in the permafrost has been accumulating for thousands of years, and yet could release in just 10s of years. So even if there is increased vegetation growth (which is predicted), there is unlikely to be enough rapid growth to offset the release of thousands of years of accumulated C.
Full disclosure: I actually work for a modeling group with the University of Alaska Fairbanks/Institute of Arctic Biology that is investigating these sorts of questions.
Which begs the question, how do we do long term sequestration? Could we, for example, split CO2 into pure carbon and O2, and then bury the C as graphite (which I believe is not digestible to any organism)?
In some ways it's almost like healing - if you're young(ish) and get severely burned, lingering scar tissue may be almost indistinguishable by the time you're 70 but that doesn't mean it has no effect on you in the years in between.
* Siberia and Alaska become huge new areas for plantations.
* Siberia and Alaska become habitable, wonderful nature reserves with Mammoths roaming about.
* Due to rising CO2 levels plants grow faster and bigger
* Due to rising temperatures the earth gets much wetter
* If you are lucky you might even witness the re-greening of the Sahara (not predicted by most simulations though?)
* improved access to minerals on the ocean bed
* increased fishing near Arctic
* ice-free shipping lanes.
To limit your euphoria: the situation is much more dire for the Oceans. Also the system gets more chaotic with consequences spelled out and unforeseen.
 A parcel of air that is near saturation may contain 28 grams of water per cubic meter of air at 30 °C, but only 8 grams of water per cubic meter of air at 8 °C.
Rapid change creates problems even when the net difference is superficially zero. For example, if I knocked down your house, but built two better houses in the middle of Nunavut, you'd probably still be unhappy, and it would still cause problems for your life.
There may not be an explicit conspiracy, but there is an emergent, cultural force which has lead to the politicization of sciences, and I imagine you are aware that scientists have quite a bit of leeway in what they choose to study/report.
Anecdote, I know, but I say this as someone who went to school with future climate scientists, and their minds were made up long before they made it to grad school.
Whether you think climate change is catastrophic or not, you must agree that there is not enough skeptical literature available, and that makes it difficult for me personally to swallow the narrative without hesitation.
Overwhelmingly physics grads enter grad school believing that the Earth revolves around the sun. There's a lack of articles in physics journals to the contrary. There's a lack of skeptical literature.
The lack of articles touting the benefits of climate change do not indicate there is a conspiracy nor should one think that there should be such articles in any but a small amount. This is especially so given the political climate in the U.S. where people are skeptical of climate science.
It is also absurd to be so certain about our potential impact on something as complex and chaotic as climate. Especially considering we also rely on trends on the order of millions of years, and we are making a judgment based on many orders of magnitude less time. Is it a bet worth making? Sure, in my opinion, but without some published skepticism, climate science may as well be propaganda when it comes to convincing people to act.
This is where you are wrong. You may not understand it but the science is solid. It is well known what happens when too much green house gases occur. The physics is indisputable.
The question raised is what are the possible net-good feedback loops? Will flora benefit from it widely and expand everywhere? Will that be a good thing?
This is where you are wrong. You may not understand it but the science is far from solid. It is not well known what happens when ecosystems react to too much greenhouse gases. "The physics is indisputable." is a hollow statement.
disclaimer: I am for active prevention of such things occurring, just for strategic reasons like "we don't have a clue what we're doing and we are apparently doing SOMETHING". But to claim it is obvious and "indisputable" sounds like dangerous propaganda to me.
"It is also absurd to be so certain about our potential impact on something as complex and chaotic as climate."
It is possible to be certain about impacts on climate. Increase CO2 in the atmosphere by a factor of a trillion. There will be runaway warming in the immediate term. This is known and well understood. I'm not claiming we are near this point but the suggestion that we can't know some effects because climate is hard is absurd.
But while we disagree on what we know you're right that it's not clear cut and one can argue we already know quite a bit - e.g. those immediate effects is something I can imagine we have good grasp on, I've not studied that in depth as most debates are about ultimate consequences.
Thanks for new PoV!
If one million people in a city don't get murdered, and one does get murdered, whose fate will be reported as news?
The murdered one of course. And the reporting will be truthful. But that doesn't mean most people get murdered.
Rapidly increasing the temperature of the planet will have devastating consequences. Write news articles on its few benefits is not newsworthy in light of the impending devastation.
We also theorized that changing the global temperature affects weather patterns like a spring so that extremes in temperature changes/weather patterns will accompany the rising temperatures, and see it happening so it's a pretty solid hypothesis. This is overall a negative except for fans of extreme weather.
This has had a drastic effect on the biosphere.
Methane isn't poisonous, the only way it can kill you is by displacing oxygen. Gas masks can't filter it, you would need an oxygen mask. Sheltering in place is slightly more practical: sealing doors and windows, using CO2 sorbents to absorb CO2, and oxygen canisters to replace consumed oxygen. Would be pretty expensive-- I wouldn't bother unless you lived next to Lake Nyos: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Nyos_disaster
Unless you are living on the permafrost then you won't see a problem. When people and livestock have been killed by sudden outpouring of gas it has been in situations where something else constrained the mixing with the regular atmosphere, or if you are in the path of the dumping of a large gas reservoir.
Generally the dumping of these gasses back into the atmosphere will not be the thing that kills you.
Personally, I think "it's just inevitable that all civilizations die from ecological collapse" takes some of the emotional frisson out of the doom and gloom as well; if it's just that inevitable, you can't really blame anyone, can you? If it's inevitable, it isn't really "fossil fuel's" fault (after all it is likely that many civilizations never even had fossil fuels, or lacked an oxygenated environment or similar that makes combusting them so easy), or careless use of farm land, or anything else... it's just the inevitable workings of the impersonal universe.
As with many other putative answers to the Fermi paradox, I don't think this one is powerful enough to explain it.
Absolutely, which is why I said "an answer" as opposed to "the answer".
We know all this stuff is possible and it is unlikely that everyone that knows something will die, just as it is unlikely that all print resources will be taken away.
Cars and cell phone towers will still likely exist. Televisions, radios, computers. The remains of power plants will stand.
We'll continue to wash our hands after shitting because we won't lose germ theory.
Sorry, but there is no going back to the stone age. At worst, the tech of today becomes the goal of humanity after our numbers rebuild.
What makes you think, 2,000 years from now, our ancestors will look back and a) remember what happened accurately, and b) learn from it?
I can imagine someone in the future saying "No man, that wasn't humanity's fault... the earth just goes through natural cycles. Or maybe it was just the sun."
In short: I think you're denying our contemporary and historical reality if you think that, in the future, we'll do any differently.
Edit: As an aside, I want you to reflect, for a moment, on our ability to understand human society even just 500 years back. Even at a time with decent written records, there's still entire disciplines focused on trying to understand how those people worked and lived, and enormous amounts of disagreement on the same.
Now imagine we fast forward, say, 2,000 years after we've destroyed modern society and started to rebuild in earnest. An enormous amount of information about who we are is now locked up in optical, magnetic, and solid state storage, and the technology to read that information will be destroyed right along with the rest of us. Much of the rest is stored on paper that doesn't have the long-term archival properties of something like vellum.
Why do you think our ancestors will understand us any better than we understand people in the middle ages?
I.e. if man/animal labor is more effective than crude machines, then societies never make mass investment into crude machines and don't prepare large numbers of people working with said machines, so there's no stimulus that might ever reach fancy machines that might be actually useful. We'd have the same fate as the medieval Chinese society, which invented lots of nifty tech centuries before Europe, but didn't go beyond that to the industrial revolution for social reasons until the progress elsewhere forced the social reasons to change.
FWIW, the folks in askscience say that the research as of one year ago does not suggest any catastrophic clathrate gun that would actually be triggered by current rates of warming.
I can hardly think about what things will be like then.
It may well actually be the doom of civilization as we know it, and should be treated as the existential threat it might be. We should be funding science, legislating environmental protection and doing whatever else we can think of until we have magic or know this is safe.
Resource availability isn't only about the mere presence of a resource, but that it can be extracted and used efficiently. The laws of thermodynamics are a stone cold bitch.
I have greater hopes for my 11-year-old than conservation of mass.
It is almost as if you are intentionally missing the point.
Please don't complicate an already difficult situation this is a place where simple trolling for fun can and does cause real harm. Climate change deniers will point at trolls like you and claim to have more people on their side than really exist.
Also, bear in mind that an overwhelming majority of the people who invented all this good stuff (scientists) agree that we're approaching a cliff.
Our current era is pretty much that, plus the germ theory of disease, plus near-lightspeed communication technologies and rapid material transit.
“What to do if you find yourself stuck in a crack in the ground underneath a giant boulder you can't move, with no hope of rescue. Consider how lucky you are that life has been good to you so far. Alternatively, if life hasn't been good to you so far, which given your current circumstances seems more likely, consider how lucky you are that it won't be troubling you much longer.”
Plus you can know everything about how to move a boulder, if your context doesn't let you apply the knowledge, it's game over.
Cut off your arm, then sell the film rights to it?
says something like:
Well, you have 2 columns. On the left one the nice ways to solve the problem. On the right one the nasty ways. The good news is that nature will always find a way to solve the problem. The bad new is that if we don't use the solutions from the left, nature will use the ones from the right.