Were the folks at NOAA allowed to publish this? Did they have to clear it by someone? Did anyone get fired?
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-...).
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.
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 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.
Don't come up with excuses for your daughter, just simply start acting in a way where you do not have to make excuses.
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.
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.
Let’s try not advocating for eco-terrorism here please.
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.
edit: Dr. Michael Mann agrees https://twitter.com/MichaelEMann/status/1160656713642631170
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.
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.
It's this kind of response that makes me convinced we deserve it.
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
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.
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.
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 :/
"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.
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:
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.
Yes and yes. I see it as a manner of, even if "all hope is gone," we can still make it much, much, worse.
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.
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).
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.
Why didn't we give a shit? Politics and money, same as anything.
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.
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.
* 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.
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.
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...
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.)
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.
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.
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".
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:
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.
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.
Looking at Figure 2.7  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.
"Global carbon (C) emissions from fossil fuel use were 9.795 gigatonnes (Gt) in 2014 (or 35.9 GtCO2 of carbon dioxide)."
Carbon's atomic mass is about 12 and oxygen about 16. CO2 is about 27% carbon by weight.
>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?)
Completely backwards. For example see slash-and-burn farming, 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).
Tony Heller has provided quite a bit of insightful context to climate reporting which likes to highlight extremes and gloss over important contextual data.
No technological development will change the shape of Earth's gravity well or e=mc^2.