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When Will Climate Change Make the Earth Too Hot for Humans? (nymag.com)
49 points by eref 7 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 32 comments



"The article argues that climate change will render the Earth uninhabitable by the end of this century. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The article fails to produce it." - Climatologist Michael Mann [1]

[1] https://www.facebook.com/MichaelMannScientist/posts/14705390...


Climate change is already making the earth too hot for SOME humans, specifically atoll dwelling people who are being forced to relocate.

It could make the earth too hot for SOME humans, as in it will force the human population to decline, something guaranteed not to be pleasant.

We're a long way away from any prospect of climate change making the earth unable to support the species homo sapiens, and it's a waste of breath talking about it.


Yeah, but it might not be too long until earth can't support 7 Billion human beings.

I mean, plenty of people are already dying of starvation and dehydration, but you know what I mean. Wasn't that the backstory to Battlefield 2142? Arable land either became desert or ice and everyone went to war over a few breadbaskets?


So I might be misunderstanding climate science, but wouldn't the change be a seesaw like change where climates are relocated based on all of the pressures (man-made and local)? So maybe the Bahamas become a frigid zone, but the Amazon becomes a Napa valley and Texas turns into jungle like weather? It just had always seemed odd to me that short of an event that decimates the atmosphere, there wouldn't be a series of controls and counter balances like every other natural system. Again though, I truly could be wrong.


Dinosaury time periods were often much hotter and much more filled with co2.

They thrived. Plants thrived. The danger is in the change part.


We are not dinosaurs.


That's true. We're warm blooded. That means we're far more capable of dealing with different temperatures than dinosaurs will ever be.

(yes there are cold-blooded mammals and warm-blooded dinosaurs, but they're rare exceptions)


Warm blooded (endothermic) dinosaurs are currently thought to have been the majority, or possibly even the entirety. Crocodilians (alligators, crocodiles, etc) likely diverged from endothermic dinosaurs, as they have features shared with other endothermic animals and not with ectotherms (cold-blooded animals) such as 4-chambered hearts.


The article contradicts your post.


No, it's unspecific, leaving the reader to assume.


The article is gibberish.


Ecological collapse will affect humans far earlier than 'too hot' temperatures.

The TL;DR versions of nuanced articles too frequently consider only humans to be significant. We're part of a big ecosystem, and the collapse of that system will inevitably take us down with it.


Ah yes! That's human's biggest downfall perhaps.


Wow that seems to paint a very very bad picture. I thought the impact of climate change was still a matter of great contention, or is this article a pretty accurate prediction?


Well...they did focus on the median-to-high scenarios. It seems like in a case like this, it makes sense to plan around the pessimistic end of the range of possibilities, when they're so dire.


Here in Germany the agricultural ministries of the southmost states debate how to deal with harvest loses of up to 70% The soil gets to dry in the heat waves and is then washed away in heavy rain storms and floodings that are now the new normal.

Everything from Chicken to Server farms has trouble with ventilation and AC.

And the list goes on and on. 10 years ago when the last ski lift in my home town closed for good I thought: "Wow climate change is really here" but now my wife and I are really concerned.


No, it is not remotely contentious.

The actual situation is that the petrochemical companies are spending a large amount of money on spreading FUD to obscure just how dire the situation is. They are immensely wealthy, meaning that they are immensely powerful. Concerted action to combat rising carbon dioxide and methane levels would destroy them. So, they are spending a lot of money fighting efforts to control fossil fuel use.

Since the science is completely clear and unambiguous and there is no reasonable doubt whatsoever, the easiest tactic is to fog the issue. To spread suspicion that there is contention. To pay for contrarian researchers to say it's unclear.

Additionally, it is important to realise that our times are ones of major cuts in funding for science, basic research, academic institutions, and so on. This means that research organisation and individual scientists have to chase industry sponsorships.

The majority of geologists, mineralogists, palaeontologists and so on work for petrochemicals companies, or work for companies or organisations that are funded by petrochemicals companies. So they are muzzled: they are not allowed to speak.

I personally have spoken to 2 such individuals recently. In public, both say "it's unclear, there is conflicting evidence," etc. Their employment requires this.

In private, off the record, they are blunt. "We are fucked. Completely, totally fucked, beyond any hope of remediation or moderation."

No, it's not controversial or unclear.

But there are legions of conspiracy theorists, religious advocates and assorted nut-jobs who delight in seizing on any hint that it's not certain and spreading FUD.

And there are those who don't care because it's clear that stopping this process will be vastly expensive and very bad for the stock markets and so on, and they care more about money than the planet. This seems insane to me but I know such people personally. It's quite common.

Equally, media organisations come in 2 forms: those committed to balance and impartiality, who convey both sides' views, 50% each -- the real science (99%), and the paid lobbyists and fringe lunatics (1%). And the other kind, who spread lunacy (InfoWars.com etc.) or what they are paid to spread (Fox News, News Corporation, etc.)

So the media representation is that there's controversy and it's not certain.

There isn't. Go look at the scientific view, and we are completely fucked. We are in the exponentially-rising part of the curve of the 6th great mass extinction event and it is not meaningfully possible to stop it.

It is, of course, possible to work to make it not quite so bad, but it will cost trillions of $/€/£/whatever. The rich don't want that. They're mostly old. Companies are immortal or nearly, but they, by design, chase the easy money and the safe bets. The industrial revolution and the economic system of the world is based on machine power replacing human and animal power. It will continue to pursue that until it collapses.

At this point, changing that requires replacing the current military-industrial complex and economic system of the whole world. That's as hard or harder than cleaning up our act, so it's not likely to happen -- not until it's too late.


The article seems to suggest that turning to carbon capture is our best option currently. If that is the case then what is the best carbon capture technology we have right now and could it even make a dent?


The best tech we currently have is bio-engineered algae. It won't make a dent unless we can farm lakes full of the stuff.


That's scary.


Probably trees.


I wonder if that's only true if we grow them then never cut them down. Because if the full lifecycle ends with combustion or another CO2 releasing process then it may offer no benefit.


We can turn them into charcoal and bury the coal. That's a pretty stable form of carbon storage and you get a bit of energy out of the process, e.g. in the form of wood-gas.


We can build a lot of shit out of wood.


If Elon thinks we could live on Mars I would imagine we'd have no trouble adapting to merely higher temperatures on earth.


I have a theory that he doesn’t believe we will easily colonize Mars and instead he’s developing technologies to sustain life on earth after climate change has wrecked the place.


Then why start with rockets?


Yes, and the fact that business isn't betting on "climate adaptation" technology here at home feels like this is still far off or won't be as apocalyptic as the article suggests.

If the worst does come to pass, I'm sure it will alter life as we know it, but the danger would probably be more to animals that can't compensate with technology like we can.


you're vastly overestimating humans' collective ability to compensate with technology. for one, all 7 billion people on earth are affected by global warming. Propagating any technological advancement to 7 billion people is difficult let alone one as complex as this. 2nd even if we had the technology to capture and return carbon and pollution to pre-industrial levels, the cultural changes needed to keep those levels down just simply wouldn't be accepted by the population. ready to limit your meat intake to at most once a week and never fly on a plane again? didn't think so. Also, the estimates given in the article are _median_ estimates. there are a few worst case scenarios thrown in but for all intents and purposes the article describes what is basically guaranteed to happen. you're being far too optimistic.


Historically in natural systems when there are large changes in the environment, such as deforestation, salination of waterways or introduction of more a more successful niche occupant you see massive die off of the apex species.

In this case there are 8 billion members of the apex species. Humans will survive, but it's not going to be much fun until the new normal emerges.

Technology will help, but it will only cushion the fall, not prevent it, and only if we react quickly enough to reduce the impact. When enough people start starving they will start looking for food and water wherever they can find it, and they won't be very charitable towards those who they believe caused the problem.


That's a foolishly simplistic view.

From simple models -- e.g. foxes and rabbits: https://niko.roorda.nu/computer-programs/fox-rabbit-theoreti... -- to more complex web models -- http://journals.plos.org/ploscompbiol/article?id=10.1371/jou....

In any such models, sometimes, with extreme population growth of any one member species, the result can be collapse so severe that that species goes totally extinct.

We're not looking at a simple redistribution. We're looking at exponential explosions, and they tend to be followed by a total collapse.


You're not taking into account the fundamental interconnectedness of all things on this planet and in the universe.




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