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Reporting on the State of the Climate in 2018 (climate.gov)
108 points by infodocket 64 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 78 comments



I'm genuinely happy to see this depressing information on a .gov domain. I'd assumed the official federal government climate policy is 'Hoax, everything's fine.'

Were the folks at NOAA allowed to publish this? Did they have to clear it by someone? Did anyone get fired?


there was a good The Daily[0] on how the current administration plans to weaken this (mandatory) report. IIRC, for instance, projections are most dire after a certain timeframe (like 40 years). Subsequent reports just won't include those timeframes anymore.

[https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/29/podcasts/the-daily/trump-...]


If I recall well, Trump immediately undermined this report. 'cause he knows best.


Does anyone think we can solve this? Or is all hope gone? By now I’m at a point where I try to come up with a good explanation for my daughter once she’s old enough about how/why we all didn’t give a shit about climate change “back then”


If we all say "we're doomed, there's nothing to do but think of excuses" then we're _definitely_ doomed. (We might be doomed regardless, but who knows?).

So instead of worrying about whether it's a lost cause, you can start doing something.

1. In US, at least, local government has quite a lot of power over transportation policy and zoning, both of which have a large impact on carbon emissions. Impacting local government is a lot easier than national government, and eventually it percolates upwards. There are local groups pushing for moving away from cars, and for switching to green energy, and for better building codes (e.g. requiring net zero). Join them.

2. Support politicians who support doing something (local or national) with money and time.

3. Support activists organizations who are trying to shift things (e.g. Sunshine Movement in the US) with money and time.

Don't have time? You can negotiate a 4-day workweek (https://codewithoutrules.com/2019/01/25/4-day-workweek-easy-...).


It seems like it depends what you mean by "doomed". Suppose a volcano erupts and lava is flowing towards your town. You can try to stop it or get out of the way.

To an individual person, climate change is like a lava flow. Going at it with a shovel isn't going to do a whole lot. Something larger scale is needed.

So, as you say, we can get involved in politics and try to get the really big scale changes going. But, for individuals, I think figuring out how to get out of the way is more practical.

I wouldn't invest in Florida real estate.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/07/extre...


Putting it in black and white 'climate change' versus 'no climate change' is totally the wrong way to frame this. Every degree that the climate warms up is generally going to be worse than the last. The first half degree of warming we experienced from the start of the industrial revolution to the late 20th century was probably a net boon for humanity. The half degree from 1.5 to 2.0 C will flood many inhabited islands and displace hundreds of thousands of people. Past that you will eventually get to millions dying in heat waves.

There's no way to prevent any global warming, because some has already happened. Realistically, we're probably going to see those small island nations flood. But we can still work to prevent things that are even worse and that's worth doing.


The "fix" is easy. Immediately cease all usage of hydrocarbons. Oh, that's completely ridiculous? Okay fine, then we need to immediately scale back our use and come up with a plan to reach zero as soon as possible. Oh, we're going to use more hydro carbons next year than this year? and we use more this year than the last even though we knew we were in trouble?

The real question now is when do we realize how deeply in trouble we are and when does the panic set it and what will happen when that does. I look around my office and I see thousands of people working hard to ship more stuff around the planet while posting signs about reusing cups to save the environment! Talk about climate denial! I see active real estate projects building million dollar condos in areas that will be destroyed in the next decade by increased damages from storm surges. We haven't even start to feel the impact of climate on food supply.

Once people realize how much trouble we're in that will be a consequence all it's own.


That's the incorrect framing. There is no "fixing" this short term. But we can prevent a great deal of future damage by immediate, drastic action.

Don't come up with excuses for your daughter, just simply start acting in a way where you do not have to make excuses.


Personal action alone will be insufficient to stem the tide. Without shutting down fossil fuel development and use, we don't stand a chance.


I 100% agree with you and also despise this frame of mind. Funny how that works!

What I mean is, I do all the things (personally) that I can do - I don't eat meat or dairy, I hardly drive, I don't travel much, I work from home so I don't commute, etc. But, unless every single person does this (or heck, is even aware they _should_ be doing more themselves), I can't see it changing much.

The reason I don't like this "I'm just one person, it's insignificant" excuse reminds me of a few years ago, during the Final Fantasy XIV Online beta. Yeah, this is a silly comparison, but there were major issues with logging in, because the beta servers had reached their max capacity. You used to stare at the login screen hammering the Login button forever, and maybe you would _finally_ make it online.

What you ended up with, was that when players would finally be able to login, they would just idle instead of logging back out, so they wouldn't have to go through the login hell again (as there was no automatic idle-kick), thus continuing and even worsening the cycle of others not being able to login. If everyone had just logged out when they were not playing, far more people would have been able to play. But since "everyone else was doing it, my insignificant acts don't matter", no one got to login, and the world was filled with idle players who were AFK.

This went fairly off-topic but the core concepts at play are vaguely similar. People should generally act in a way that, if everyone were to do it, the world wouldn't descend into chaos.


It’s a nice thought. But imagine there was a giant flood in your neighborhood, and your solution was to grab a spoon from the kitchen and start scooping spoonfuls town the drain.

Maybe your example would inspire your neighbors to reach into their own kitchen drawers for a spoon, and maybe in some happy version of the universe all the spoons would add up to enough and your neighborhood would be saved.

I don’t think this metaphor is as poor as it sounds — if anything a spoonful of water against a neighborhood flood is probably orders of magnitude more significant than your personal contribution to slowing global warming.

So I’ve come to the opposite conclusion as you: this focus on personal efficiency is misguided, and we should spend the vast majority of our efforts on advocating for policy shifts like increased carbon taxes and technological solutions.


I think the better example would be everyone grabbing a sandbag. It's not going to stop the flood, but it can protect some buildings. Your example is bad because you posit everyone making individual changes will make no difference. That is false. Everyone acting together will not solve it, but it will make a dent. Your order of magnitudes are off.


There are ways in which personal action can shut down fossil fuel development/use. You could take extreme measures of sabotage, e.g. destroying equipment and infrastructure of the non-renewable energy sector. Less extreme measures could be non-cooperation with any institutions that are engaging in the carbon economy, e.g. by organising your workplace and going on strike till your employer divests from carbon.


> You could take extreme measures of sabotage, e.g. destroying equipment and infrastructure of the non-renewable energy sector.

Let’s try not advocating for eco-terrorism here please.


Mass-surveillance makes impossible to have any honest cold-minded debate on the subject unless one is an important person, but here is some relevant material. https://www-cdn.law.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/...


It was not phrased as an advocation, merely as an argument that it is in fact possible to effect change on an individual or small-scale level.

As for calling it "terrorism", you would not call what is happening in Hong Kong right now terrorism would you? However, it is the same kind of "sabotage" of the smooth operation of society that would be necessary to bring about change, as it puts pressure on those in power to act. Grounding planes and shutting down major roads can be terrifying and are the same effects real "terrorism" has too.


Yes. And you control one of them directly, so focus on that. Focus your advocacy and votes on the other. This is one of those challenges that require doing more than two things at once.

edit: Dr. Michael Mann agrees https://twitter.com/MichaelEMann/status/1160656713642631170


I wrote this in response to a reply comment (since deleted). But I spent enough time that I wanted to post it:

You can make massively meaning differences every day with minor personal decisions. If everyone in the US did them it would have a significant global impact.

1. Replace all bulbs with LEDs. 2. Set your AC warmer at home, in the thermostat in your hotel rooms, and anywhere else you can 3. Eat as little meat as you can 4. Replace your car with an EV or highly fuel efficient hybrid 5. Get the highest efficiency AC/Heater 6. Change vacation plans to avoid CO2 emission 7. Install Solar PV. 8 Lower your hot water temperature 9. Repair instead of replace 10. Up the R value of your insulation...

You can make a huge dent (more than 50%) in your personal CO2 footprint. PARTICULARLY as a member of an industrialized society. You can make more impact than a dozen people in a developing country.


This is the sorites "grain of rice" paradox. Personal action serves as signals to help encourage the larger systemic changes, which follow of pattern of not happening for a long time until a LOT happens in a short period of time.


It really depends on what you mean by "solve this". Can we prevent a horrendous catastrophe of our air, water, food and energy systems? Absolutely not. Is all of humanity going to die? Absolutely not. A lot of people will probably die and they will be (largely) poor. The Earth will recover given time and a much lower and sustainable population.

I think you need to decide your own moral stance. Do you want to say you did your part even if others didn't or do you want to say it was hopeless and we just had to let it play out? Only you can answer what feels sufficient.


I've scaled back my expectations. By now, I'm shooting for laws and books. I think the question is not so much about whether the human race will survive (though surely it will be smaller in number) but whether it will be recognizable at all (aka "civilized").


Oh boy, alarmism at its finest. Crop yields are up anywhere from 50-100%. Livestock numbers are stable. Food supply is more than secure. Sea level rise, is fairly minimal at 3mm a year. Certainly not cause for doom and gloom. Certainly manageable. Basic needs of humanity are: food, water, and shelter. None of which is in danger or even remotely close to danger levels. The idea that the human race is any remote kind of danger is bogus.


Sigh.

It's this kind of response that makes me convinced we deserve it.


Sigh, it's this kind of response that makes me convinced you have no arguments to the contrary.

Rice yields are up 40% since 1988: https://www.nass.usda.gov/Charts_and_Maps/Field_Crops/riceyl...

Corn's up 60%: https://www.nass.usda.gov/Charts_and_Maps/Field_Crops/cornyl...

Wheat is up 48% since '88: https://www.nass.usda.gov/Charts_and_Maps/Field_Crops/wwyld....

Cattle inventory looks steady: https://www.nass.usda.gov/Charts_and_Maps/Cattle/inv.php


Just because it's sunny today, doesn't mean you should plan a picnic for tomorrow if all the forecasts say 100% rain. Will it rain? True, we don't _really_ know. Enjoy your sausages, friend! I'm sure they'll be plenty to go around.


What kind of argument is this? I give factual data showing that since 1988, crop yields are up significantly in the face of all this supposedly catastrophic CO2 emissions. And why wouldn't they be? Plants thrive on CO2. Plants grow faster with higher levels of CO2. Greenhouses literally have CO2 pumped into them to enable more rapid crop growth. The doomsday scenario about humanity's odds in the face of climate change are based on nothing rational. The water cycle that the planet has enabled for the past billion plus years isn't going to undergo any drastic changes. There will be plenty of rice, wheat, corn, and every other crop to go along with my sausage, my friend. For decades to come, short of a meteor impact or sudden increase in volcanic activity.


This is the equivalent of measuring a SV company's financials by the number of different snacks in its microkitchen.

Sure, it will be stable, or even improving, until one day (if we are unlucky) it will catastrophically collapse. If we want to figure out whether we'll be lucky, we'll have to look at actual figures (i.e., balance sheets) predicting the company's future, and it's not looking good.


I have an intuition that « we deserve it », is the modern equivalent of « gods are punishing us for our sins », but in this case it’s nature.

Not to judge whether we’re actually running to a catastrophy or not, but i can’t help think many people are somehow « happy » if we were, because they hate our current civilisation so much.


"we deserve it" is a moral condemnation of our collective failure and its causes, not a statement of hatred. I think our civilization is fantastic, bracketing perhaps the last 3 or so years. It may not last the night, but it gives a lovely light.


Gosh, I wonder if our current civilisation has earned its enemies? I mean the internet is cool and all, but our fantastic civilisation can't manage to use it to coordinate a meaningful response to the existential crisis of our era...that it's inducing itself, at an ever-accelerating rate.

Capitalism has yielded a system that's accidentally optimizing for a dystopia of impersonal fractious hate, surveillance, psychic manipulation, and social isolation.

So I think many people would be quite happy to see this system dismantled. Unfortunately I fear that the subsequent system is going to be even worse :/


Please don't. This response is a tiny minority.


Tiny yet somehow dominant.


We have all the technology we need: Applied ecology for food systems, "Food forest" is a search term to try...

"Greening the Desert" Geoff Lawton https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W69kRsC_CgQ https://permies.com/wiki/2584/Greening-Desert-updates-Geoff-...

Converts salt desert to productive ecologically harmonious fig trees etc. in two years.

Here's a talk "Redesigning Civilization with Permaculture" by Toby Hemenway (RIP) where he talks about how we got into this mess and how we might get out.

http://tobyhemenway.com/videos/redesigning-civilization-with...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6b7zJ-hx_c

Integrated carbon-neutral fuel production: http://alcoholcanbeagas.com/node/518

And it's fun! I have no idea why people are not more keen. I think it's psychological or spiritual.

- - - -

People are talking about what to do at high levels. We might see e.g. Bangladesh unilaterally geoengineering the weather: https://spaswell.wordpress.com/2016/11/18/dr-gwynne-dyer-geo...

- - - -

Personally, I think our problems are spiritual in nature. Like avip said in a sib comment, it will take a global mobilization. In any event, the limiting factor is not technology.


> Does anyone think we can solve this? Or is all hope gone?

Yes and yes. I see it as a manner of, even if "all hope is gone," we can still make it much, much, worse.


I see it as: we can still fix this (or at least mitigate it), but we will (almost certainly) choose not to.


Might want to check out the 'My Climate Journey' podcast: https://www.myclimatejourney.co Lots of great interviews with people working on climate.


Oh, thank you! Sounds great!


We can solve this if we focus on what we want to achieve:

1) We want to prevent heat waves of 40+ C, hurricanes, droughts, very cold winters etc

2) We want to prevent antarctic ice sheets from melting and increasing the sea level

3) We want to prevent CO2 reaching 700ppm when it can start to cause serious problems with ocean acidification.

Only way to achieve this is to develop technology that would allow to control the weather, because if we can restore the deserts to moderately green state, their biosphere would consume all of the CO2 that we have released so far.

A very promising way to build weather controlling machine is building large number of autonomous hot air balloons, which by controlling their reflexivity can either heat up the air above clouds or act as artificial clouds by reflecting some of the sunlight.

But unfortunately we are not even looking for solutions like this, all the suggestions about geoengineering are dismissed out of hand, activists try to block experiments like the recent one form harvard, and proposed solutions end up as some combination of not eating meat, not flying, not having children, adding high co2 taxes, or subsidising renewables that are not profitable on their own.


I encourage everyone to have a look at the extinction rebellion movement - it focuses on acceptance first (this is a global crisis) and then calls for local organized action on an interconnected global scale.

Most importantly for me, there's a focus on working together, to move towards a sustainable environment. And not an empty focus on individual action. We need to come together to enable better infrastructure (eg: many parts of the US its very difficult to live without a car - and that's something that needs community and local government to come together and change. From free public transportation to better co location of work/school/shopoing/homes. Or: for increased local consumption we need incentives, and for more sustainable global logistics we need cooperation across borders).

https://rebellion.earth/act-now/local-groups/


Rather than coming up with excuses for your daughter, you could be one of the people that is giving a shit and doing something. We look back with awe and pride at people who fought for what was right in the past. Why not let your daughter have some awe and pride for you/us?

There is a lot to be done. Get angry and get active. Go out on the streets and cause a ruckus until those who have the power to change things have no choice but to do so. Anything less than this essentially amounts to "collaborating with the system" that is destroying the future. Be a part of "the resistance" to that system.

https://globalclimatestrike.net/

https://rebellion.earth/


We're pretty much banking on technology that doesn't exist yet. Global-scale air scrubbers to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, etc.

Why didn't we give a shit? Politics and money, same as anything.


Your cynicism is underinformed, learn what people are doing, and help them (https://climateaction.tech/, et al)

We == "they" + "me". If you you feel that way, then say "I don't give a shit". Because you don't speak for anyone else, really. This will have a positive effect on your thinking about the issue.


In order to ignite the required social shift we need global mobilization roughly the size of Christianity, Islam and Buddhism combined.

So in theory if Christ, Muhammad and Buddha were all alive, and they could agree among them on the path, and people would listen - we could avoid catastrophe.


Thank you for underscoring the religiousness of this completely bogus alarmism. Are the basic needs of humanity: food, water, shelter, in any sort of decline at all? No. Crop yields are up, water is a constant, and we're not going to run out of concrete and wood to build shelter.


Other basic needs include

* dry land to live on

* air that is cool enough for sweating to work to cool you off so you don’t die of heatstroke (< 100-140f, depending on humidity - high humidity lowers the threshold)

* oxygen to breathe

This year’s been seeing record high temperatures all summer. And scarily early melt cycles in the icecap. And the world’s major forests keep on getting cut down faster and faster.


On points:

1) There's insignificant differences in total land mass on the planet in the past few hundred years. I'm not sure what you're suggesting there. Sea levels have varied by dozens to hundreds of feet in the past. Life went on.

2) There are absolutely no scenarios where heat accelerates to 140F. The planet had CO2 PPM in the thousands for hundreds of millions of years. (of course, the CO2 in those years, was caused by volcanic activity) Still, life went on.

https://www.livescience.com/44330-jurassic-dinosaur-carbon-d... http://earthguide.ucsd.edu/virtualmuseum/climatechange2/07_1...

3) Oxygen levels have not changed significantly. What kind of statement is that? O2 outnumbers CO2 by orders of magnitude in the Earth's atmosphere (21% of the atmosphere is O2, CO2 is way <1%).

Record highs in Europe are local record highs (from the past century), not global all time highs. Russia, for example, experienced record all time lows during the same time Europe was getting hit by its heat wave: https://electroverse.net/all-time-record-low-temperatures-tu...


Yes


We can solve this, will we? No. Unless someone can convince the world's population to stop burning fossil fuels. The pain is already here for a lot of people and we're not doing anything about it.


I doubt we'll keep on trucking with the status quo until the planet is uninhabitable, but there will be pain.


We could if we really wanted to and would pay for it. But we don't and probably won't. Too much disconnect between action and eventual long term consequence. Not enough global political support.


I've been trying like the dickens to get a solid understanding of the numbers behind this, but they all seem to vary so much depending on source.

A recent climate report indicated that as of 2011, the earth's atmosphere has somewhere around 1900 gigatons of CO2 and that we'd need to stay below 2900 gigatons to stay below 2 degrees celsius of warming.

But other sources report carbon in terms of ppm, and this source says the world is at 407.4 ppm.

One source I found says that 1 ppm = 7.81 gigatons of CO2, but that would mean we're at 3181.8 gigatons of CO2 worldwide, which is much higher than any other estimate I've seen - another estimate I saw said that the world is slated to go above 2900 gigatons in the year 2036 if current emission rates hold steady, but this one says we're already far over that.

Is there a source somewhere that tracks the latest state of the basic math? Math that there is some general consensus on, based off of emissions of CO2 per country per year, emissions of CO2 of the world per year, ppm, gigatons, and the generally-agreed-upon correlation between that and degrees of warming? Because all these reports seem to disagree with each other.

(What's nice about having an upper limit like 2900, and a rate of emissions per country, is that you can then calculate how much carbon each citizen needs to offset and/or sequester.)


The 1 ppm = 7.81Gt is correct, but the 2900Gt figure isn't atmospheric total, it's total emissions. Not all emissions end up staying in the atmosphere, so it doesn't translate exactly across.


Thanks - I didn't realize that this is actually one of arguments that skeptics make - the matter of the correlation between CO2 in the atmosphere, and CO2 emissions.

I see some indications that the rule of thumb is that roughly 60% of emissions stay in the atmosphere, which makes the current numbers make more sense again, but so far I haven't found anything more authoritative. And I see some estimates that 430 ppm corresponds to 1.5 degrees, while 450 ppm corresponds to 2 degrees, but 60% doesn't work for the 2900gT = 2 degrees estimate.


I don't know much about it, but I believe ppm is what instruments measure, and how that translates to temperature rise is going to depend on the climate model?

You might have better luck looking for what climate models predict. It's not going to be basic math since climate is complicated. Maybe there is a toy model based on linear effects, but that's going to be a crude summary at best.


I'm fine with there just being a recognized source with wide consensus that says "we have to stay below x ppm/GTCO2 to stay below 2 degrees, and y to stay below 1.5, and currently we are at z." And, data on emissions rate, but those appear to be more consistent. From that you can calculate how much time we have.

But so far it appears that our "scientific consensus" on those numbers range between "we have fifty years" to "we're already past that point".


There are predictions based on various scenarios.

you can see them in more detail here: https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/4/

And the various probabilities that we will stay below X degrees under the various scenarios can be found in figure 14.3 here: https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/14/

I think you are seeing an artifact of how difficult it is to explain things to non-scientists (and non-scientists misinterpreting the claims).

It also tends to be difficult to find these kinds of good sources with a generic google search and no prior knowledge of the appropriate search terms. Using google scholar instead can be helpful sometimes in weeding out non-science answers for science questions.


It's too bad, because I think people need to be able to make at least a simple version of the argument for themselves, from premises, rather than simply relying on "Scientists say..."

Edit: Another example. The source you listed says the world is emitting just under 10 GtC/year. Another source I've recently seen said we are emitting 37.1 GtC/year. I've also heard 54/year but don't remember where. I mean, these numbers aren't even close.


Hmm, I didn't see where it says 10 GtC/year, but perhaps I missed it. Could you be more specific?

Looking at Figure 2.7 [1] they have "Fossil fuels and industry" at what looks like about 37, which agrees with your other source?

The discrepancy in numbers might just be from measuring different things.

[1] https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/2/


Key finding #4 in your first link: "The present-day emissions rate of nearly 10 GtC per year suggests that..."


It seems to be the difference between carbon emissions and carbon dioxide emissions. From a different web page:

"Global carbon (C) emissions from fossil fuel use were 9.795 gigatonnes (Gt) in 2014 (or 35.9 GtCO2 of carbon dioxide)."

https://www.co2.earth/global-co2-emissions

Carbon's atomic mass is about 12 and oxygen about 16. CO2 is about 27% carbon by weight.


Oy. Thanks. I'm really getting a lesson on reading these things more closely.


The closest thing I've seen are graphs predicting temperature rise under different scenarios.


One of the surprising facts in the article is this:

>Global fire activity was lowest on record.

The author explain why this is true a few sentences later- the change is being

>driven primarily by the conversion of frequently burning savannas to agricultural areas.

I wonder if this is one of those "humans accidentally geoengineering a few more years of habitability into the planet" things, like the global chilling effect that our pollutants have when they're highly reflective of light. Only, in this case, by preventing fires we're keeping more carbon locked into plants. (This is obviously a gross simplification, but this could be a possibility, right?)


Holy crap, no. They are tilling over carbon sinks (grasslands) and ruining them. I don't know that we know enough about soil biota (and the impact of the various agricultural products that typically come along with this conversion) to know how long, assuming it is even possible, to reestablish them. It's horrible news.


> Only, in this case, by preventing fires we're keeping more carbon locked into plants.

Completely backwards. For example see slash-and-burn farming[1], where fields are intentionally burnt to return carbon to the soil. Plants, on their own, are not great at carbon capture. They grow and die and the carbon they captured gets re-released. To be a truly effective carbon sink you should ideally be converting plant matter into a stable form, like peat- peat takes centuries to form, but locks carbon into the ground. Rainforests also create very carbon-rich sediments. Grasslands aren't the greatest, but when they burn they don't convert 100% into CO2 and lots of carbon is left in the soil.

Farmlands on the other hand are scrupulous about harvesting all their plants and growing plants that don't leave behind much. They grow plants that are mostly fruiting body, and then the parts humans don't eat are fed to livestock, and it all gets turned with very high efficiency into CO2 and methane, which is an even more powerful greenhouse gas (until if eventually breaks down into CO2).

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slash-and-burn


The "highlights" section is very fishy to include in a scientific report. It's very easy to misinterpret trends when you cherry-pick extrema out of data affected by cyclical trends and stochastic processes with relatively high variance. Further, saying that some place is reporting a 100-year high record temperature sounds bad, but saying that the temperature was briefly about as high as it was in the 1910s sounds like nothing to worry about.

Tony Heller has provided quite a bit of insightful context to climate reporting which likes to highlight extremes and gloss over important contextual data.

https://www.youtube.com/user/TonyHeller1/videos?view=0&sort=...


Yeah, Tony Heller- the guy who believes methane isn't a greenhouse gas and cherry picks for cherry picking. What a quack


I read a report that wasn't sponsored by the gov. It suggested most of our fears of climate changes are null. Mainly it suggested our current velocity of technology advancement can propel us off of planet earth. I guess it's suggesting as the climate heat increases its marginal bc we can simply leave the planet and go to another. If we look at the work elon musk this isn't too far away - the article claimed. I'll try to find the URL. So I guess everything will be ok.


Yes, great solution to the problem. Let the fate of the human race rest on a single billionaire's personal project. Let's also not consider the fact that there is no physical way to shuttle humans off of planet earth fast enough to even keep up with reproduction rates.


Surely if we can't geoengineer our own planet to stay at the same temperature there there is no freaking way we could geoengineer mars.


Edited for politeness: This comment make no sense to me. Earth is the only planet we have for the foreseeable future (a couple of centuries at least).


Please don't respond to a bad comment by making the thread still worse. That helps nothing. Instead, you can flag egregious comments, as described in https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and https://news.ycombinator.com/newsfaq.html.


I imagine that you had flagged my comment. I'd have appreciated the courtesy of unflagging it after it follows the guidelines.


Happy to. I only saw this by accident though. If you want us to see something, it's best to send it to hn@ycombinator.com. (That's in the guidelines too!)


Edited.


That doesn't work on first principles with the ballistic equation with the current population. Just go to http://what-if.xkcd.com and do some of the type of back of envelope math of the energy requirements. He might actually have that specific example debunked on one of them.

No technological development will change the shape of Earth's gravity well or e=mc^2.

edit: https://what-if.xkcd.com/7/


Yes, and many people thought we'd have flying cars and live in space by now, but future predictions don't always come true.




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