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CO2 and Climate Task Force (AQ-9) (1980) [pdf] (insideclimatenews.org)
43 points by andrewgioia 21 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 21 comments



From the conclusion:

"At a 3% per annum growth rate of CO2, a 2.5℃ rise brings world economic growth to a halt in about 2025."

I wonder if attempts by the scientific community to persuade world leaders of the severity of this problem would have been more successful if this had been more emphasized, rather than inches of sea level rise, wildlife extinctions, effects on poor populations, etc. If there is one thing political and financial leaders understand, it is their own dependence on continued economic growth - and continued expectations of economic growth.


I don't think global warming is on track to bring world economic growth to a halt by 2025, that's only 5.5 years away. As emphasized in the report, the models of the time had a very wide cone of uncertainty - on one end you had the immediate destruction of human civilization, on the other you had a slow meandering towards harsher conditions. Fortunately for us we got off easy relative to what could have been. (Although, it's not right to say we "got off," we are continuing to put CO2 into the atmosphere and unless we stop we will eventually push it far enough make good on every ghastly possibility they considered in the 80s.)


GDP growth is trending down, and has for years. Considering it's 40 years old I'm more struck by the accuracy than us not seeing the prediction come true in 2025.

Maybe the precise date is off, but the trend is already becoming clear, and effects are accelerating. Developed economies grow in the low single digits, it's not going to take much to eliminate much or all of it.

Edit: Which potentially makes the new normal, whenever it may come, a constant recession. That is going to be... interesting.


Is World GDP growth trending down for the reasons they predicted?

And is it even trending down? Hard to see a clear trend here: https://www.worldometers.info/gdp/ (see GDP Growth Rate, World (1961-2017))


Yeah that particular date certainly had a lot of uncertainty, as any 50 year projection must. My "this" was ambiguous; what I was trying to refer to was, the issue of warming's effect on economic growth generally, regardless of the specifics of particular predictions.


The trouble is CO2 isn't even a pressing problem compared to everything else. There are so man forms of pollution that are killing things right now. There are the great garbage patches in both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. There are the lakes of sludge in factories cities in China. There are the coal fly ash dams at coal plants all around the US (and dams like the one in Kingston Fossil Plant that broke and contaminated the entire watershed between Nashville and Knoxivlle), water supply contamination from fracking, the ongoing ramifications from the BP oil spill in the Gulf that is still not really cleaned up, but everyone has forgotten about.

To solve all these other very current sources of pollution that are killing us right now, we need to consume less. We need more trains, fewer cars, cellphones that are designed to last 8~12 years instead of 2~4, industry that isn't based on infinite growth, more automation, less fear over loss to automation, and just a huge change in the way we think about the world, consumption and the economy.

All of these changes will reduce CO2, but CO2 is just a symptom of a much much larger problem. People will continue to argue about CO2, and it'd a red haring. Humanity needs to focus on the actual Flu and not the runny nose/sniffles.


This is very far from correct.

CO2 is not just disrupting the climate, it is also acidifying the seas, which will soon suffer an eco-collapse as shellfish and coral become unable to precipitate calcium out of the water.

There is a nearly commensurate problem. If existing A/C and refrigeration systems end up venting their HFCs, that will cause as much climate disruption as CO2, and remain in the atmosphere for centuries. Somehow we have to drain every failed compressor and incinerate it all.


>People will continue to argue about CO2, and it'd a red haring. Humanity needs to focus on the actual Flu and not the runny nose/sniffles.

You have to be careful about magnifying good plans into a design to destroy and replace every institution of power. If you let your views about how society should be organized piggyback on the need to solve problems, you'll end up fighting for a communist revolution instead of fighting climate change.

There are plenty of ways to address this issue that don't involve the larger problem, (the larger problem being society, human nature, the universal wavefunction and the boundary conditions of the universe...) and you can implement them without having to fight off opposition from everyone else on earth.

Regular old techniques like funding research and taxing externalities can help with this problem, and the opposition to them is going to be far smaller than the opposition to replacing capitalism, or whatever bigger-picture solution you're alluding to.


i thought the world was supposed to end in 2012


Want to make a difference as a technologist?

Feel free to join these communities actively looking for support and with ongoing projects (that are alive):

- https://climateaction.tech/

- https://techimpactmakers.com/

- https://www.tmrow.com/


Thanks for posting this. I have a climate change related project that is getting traction and its needs are exceeding my ability to keep up with the dev work. Hopefully these communities have someone who would like to help. If anyone on HN is interested in helping, you can find details in my profile.


Thanks, joined.


So very succinct.

"Timescale for significant impact, very roughly 50 years"

"1°C Rise (2005): Barely noticeable"

"2.5°C Rise (2038): Major economic consequences, Strong regional dependence"

"5°C Rise (2067): Globally Catastrophic effects"

The world has released more since that document was produced, than in the whole of human history before it.


> The world has released more since that document was produced, than in the whole of human history before it.

Unfortunately there's still a lot of people that think this is a natural cycle and that it's not caused by humans. The sad truth is that for anything drastic to happen we will probably need to wait another 20-30 years for (a) the consequences to be right in your face, and (b) a majority of the old decision makers holding us back to be dead, retired, or irrelevant (no longer have the pull whisper in new decision maker's ears).


20-30 years and we're in chaos, and have to go into reverse emissions.

In Europe there seems to be a growing public awareness and will to respond, the EU might catch up to public opinion. It's been in our face consequence wise for most of the last 10 years. Summers we expect once or twice in a lifetime coming every 2 or 3 years is kinda hard to not notice...


Notable is difference from in your face. I'm referring to regions drastically changing. I know it will be too late then, which absolutely sucks. This is why I don't think we'll get through this as a majority of the population... and this is coming from someone that's typically an optimist.


This has been public for several years, any reason in particular to post it here now?


Anyone living in Europe now will tell you the problem is of dire importance today. 2025 may have actually been a conservative estimate for the halt of global economic growth.

Today we have a massive heat wave in June which threatens half a billion people in the first world who have never needed air conditioning. France has already seen high temps of 115 f.

It boggles the mind to think the American government is actively accelerating this crisis.


> It boggles the mind to think the American government is actively accelerating this crisis.

It shouldn't. They're effectively owned by the fossil fuel/military/prison industrial complex. And the billionaires who run things would rather build bunkers in New Zealand than actually fix the problems they've created because they're so insulated from them that they no longer understand how the world actually works.

I mean what did we expect would happen when we based our economy around the rule that everyone must maximize profits at all costs, eh.

jesssse 21 days ago [flagged]

The sun is getting hotter, is America to blame for that too?

CO2 doesn't matter.


Would you please stop posting flamebait to HN? We ban accounts that do this repeatedly.

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