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Yes, I’m Feeling Bad About Climate Change. Let’s Discuss (mit.edu)
147 points by sarapeyton 30 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 206 comments



I was in my teens in the 1990s following the Kyoto Accord with great interest. I went through my own crisis of feeling bad, a period of bereavement in the early 2000s, thinking we’re screwed.

People and politicians are all talk and no action — denial or cognitive dissonance — it doesn’t matter as long as nothing gets done. The same result.

I live in a town where people fight any improvement that might make pedestrian life better, with less reliance on a car, even over the smallest inconvenience (e.g. another crosswalk).

I live in a small net-zero house with solar panels and an electric car. Meanwhile the local oil company/refinery gets subsidies so it can afford to operate.

Some of the local schools threaten kids with failing grades if they strike for climate but missing school for sporting events is encouraged.

It’s hard not to be discouraged but I’ve come to the point of just doing what I can and making it a priority in my own life and for my family. Not sure what else to do.


If we don't fix this those grades won't matter.


This is a really good article. It touches on the global denial, the gross generational inequality of the status quo, and acknowledges the personal mental health difficulty in trying to accept what the human race has done.

It's also pragmatic and talks about what's being done. Very worthwhile reading in its entirety.


Agreed. It really touches on the emotional aspects of it, which I think really need to be discussed.

When I picture why certain family members have a hard time accepting the reality of global warming, it certainly comes down to difficulty grappling with emotions, not a hard review of the literature.

Recognizing emotions as part of the problem and solution feels like a big step.


>Recognizing emotions as part of the problem and solution feels like a big step.

I think this is actually the worst thing we can do. Science is facts, cold hard facts.

If you want to get rid of the science and focus on emotions, then the solutions to the _real_ problem will get distorted.


I don't want to sound harsh, but you're wrong because you're missing the point, and badly.

The author talks about cancer diagnoses. This is an apt analogy, and there is a huge body of science for helping individuals cope with personal tragedy. Global warming is a global and personal tragedy. People will have their livelihoods ruined, and people will die. People already have, but (since this is a anglophile community) this forum is mostly insulated from developments in North Africa, the Middle East, Central America... how it impacts us is in the nationalistic/xenophobic movements around the resulting human migrations. Acknowledging this will prevent conflict and harm those that cynically try to take advantage of groups of people in vulnerable states through demagoguing.

The science should be cold an unemotional. The policy dictated by the science should be sensitive to the mental health of everyone as they absorb the magnitude of this disaster.


Do you want to feel better about the climate? Or actually fix it?

I'd rather have a cold hard doctor that fixes my cancer, than feel good about dying.



If there is any science that says smiling or telling a joke will alter the climate, I will be the first in line to admit my error.

Otherwise, I will argue that emotions are directly linked to our personal health, but not the climate. It's an entirely different system that has no emotions.


Fuck man you're so god damn keen on missing the point, aren't you? Nobody's saying the climate has emotions.

You're not going to fix anything without convincing people do act, and its more likely that you can convince people to act if you can connect with with on an emotional level, rather than just tell them the facts and saying what needs to be done.

We've been telling people the facts for years and it's not done shit.


I am not missing the point, fixing the climate has nothing to do with emotions of people either.

All a politician has to do is present a real solution, and you will have lots of support. That hasn't happened yet. It wasn't hard to get people to stop littering, because the leaders did something about it, and the followers followed.

It's a leadership issue, not a follower issue. So stop blaming the followers, and blame the leaders.


I would like to have a cold hard oncologist, a therapist, and hospice care in that situation, personally.


Agreed, this is a problem that we will solve through scientific innovation in power generation (nuclear) and carbon sequestration. The solutions that fall in the emotional domain often involve legislation and a reduction in quality of life.


Why are you presenting a false dichotomy?


A false dichotomy is when two opposing views are expressed as the only options. I am comparing a real solution (science) with a phony one (emotions).

Can a warm fuzzy doctor cure cancer with science? Yes.

Can a warm fuzzy doctor cure cancer with emotions and no science? No.

So, this is not a false dichotomy. The climate can not be changed by feeling different about it.

Is there a solution to climate change that does not involve science? I would argue no.


You put up a false dichotomy because none of us are saying it's a choice between emotions and science.

What they're talking about is how important emotions are when dealing with humans, and you need to deal with humans to solve this problem.


The climate issue would end tomorrow if the government made it illegal and started arresting people. So it's not a problem with the people.

It's a childish ploy to play with emotions, and you will end up with a childish solution playing this game.

Science has won over millions of people with the truth time and time again. To pretend like this issue can only be solved by emotions is a giant lie. We have history to demonstrate this.


> The climate issue would end tomorrow if the government made it illegal and started arresting people. So it's not a problem with the people.

If the government made all CO2 emissions illegal tomorrow people wouldn't be able to go to work or feed their families, you'd have massive riots and the government would either change their minds or be thrown out.

> To pretend like this issue can only be solved by emotions is a giant lie.

Yet again, absolutely nobody is saying this.


Yes, the economy would be impacted, but the problem of the climate would be solved. A real solution. Why not start there and work backwards towards a solution that will be acceptable?

How would people feel about saving the entire human race? Maybe that's the problem, it's "feelings", not real solutions.

> Yet again, absolutely nobody is saying this.

They actually are, it's just subtle so maybe you aren't noticing it. There's an attempted shift in the discussion away from very, very real solutions to emotional manipulation.


There's no solution to climate change that does not involve science.

However, there's no solution to climate science that doesn't involve engaging with humans either. Pathos is a fundamental part of engaging with humans.


The science of what is happening is fact. The method by which we engage our collective powers to act is a people problem. We can come together in action, but that requires connecting with as many of our personalities and psyches as possible.


> The science of what is happening is fact.

That is a tautology. Exactly how much warming are we looking at by 2100? Is it an emergency, an annoyance, or nothing much?

Will higher CO2 concentrations avert an Ice Age in a few thousand years?

The fact is that market forces are looking as if they will greatly reduce CO2 emissions over the next few decades. The wildcard is how quickly China, India, and emerging third world countries will wean off of coal. Nuclear must be a much bigger part of the mix (see ThorCon and others).

In the meantime, most of the "mitigation efforts" look more like unrelated social engineering.


There aren’t good solutions yet. That’s a cold hard fact. Reducing emission isn’t going to help and it’s not a start. It’s a losers battle. We need carbon sequestering tech, fusion, and new tech to solve this.


There are perfectly good solutions. Wind turbines, solar panels, batteries, and power-to-gas facilities. If you want to some nuclear reactors. Add insulation for homes, heat pumps, electric cars and public transport and you're there. We just need to build them. It's not hard, it's expensive. There is no new technology needed at this point.


Most of what you mention are sustainability propositions, which are not useful long term, probably not even short term. We can’t create sustainability, it’s a fad we’ve all been fed, based on anthropometric views of the world which aren’t going to improve it. They will cause stagnation and that will cause collapse faster than climate change ever could.

Electric cars still cost to produce what non electrics do, we have to take into account the backend (mining ect) as well. Gas is most likely as bad according to many reports. Countries which have made the switch like Brazil in cars haven’t produced the results expected, again the production is still not clean.

Wind is unreliable in most cases and non scalable. Solar is ok, but expensive and we can’t deploy it for everything(think maritime transport).

The way to solve our problem is with innovation that can really replace our main source of consumption. Think population bomb/explosion in the 50-60s. Whaling shift to electricity and vegetable oils late 1800s. All was replaced by new tech, which has decayed into bad tech, and the new tech we develop will probably also decay into bad tech again in 100years. That’s the way it works. Only realistic current solution is fusion.

Fusion, carbon-sequestering tech, geo-engineering, betavoltaics(One can dream) and new innovations are always the way forward. The rest are bandaids on the dam + have cost us a lot of money/time at subpar results.

Sorry for the quick type, but you can see more here: https://link.medium.com/4p3O0AuImZ


I guess we have to disagree here. I prefer we solve the problem with the solutions we can implement right now instead of continuing to increase our emissions hoping for some deus ex machina that fixes the damage we caused. Fusion for example is not a current solution. It's still in the research stage. With adequate funding we might be able to rush to a demo reactor in a decade or two. But by then the damage is done. If we can't prevent the permafrost from releasing its carbon or the Greenland ice sheet from disappearing it is very unlikely that we'll be able to geoengineer our way out of it.


I guess we do disagree. The way I think about it is what gets us to from point A to point B in the least amount of time is best. All other solutions aren’t real not the least because china and India aren’t going to play ball. Also because they aren’t 10x better than the rest (only solar is, just not enough to supply whole world) So we have to be develop something worthwhile and long lasting. Even more nuclear reactors in the meanwhile are a better solution. Predictions of gloom/doom have been around since the 1600s. Everybody in every generation says it’s different this time and it’s really over. I don’t mean to come across as this not being an important issue. I just don’t like the defense of if we don’t do something now we are screwed forever, forcing us to make bad decisions. I’ll take the other side of that bet any day. Predictions in complex systems are mostly wrong Because they don’t take into account future developments and see the world as static which it isn’t.

One more thing. The only reason fusion is 10-20 years away is because we are still focusing on failed technologies (wind and gas) and not throwing enough resources at fusion. If the government took a Los Alamos approach to fusion and nuclear energy in general we could be up and running in 5 years.


If you believe that "cold hard facts" are what motivate human behavior, you are deeply ignorant of _critical_ aspects to understanding human behavior, working with humans, and solving human problems. You're not wrong or bad for this ignorance, we're all born into ignorance, it's the human condition.


It's pure delusion to think you can get everyone to band together to change the climate.

We can't people to stop murdering each other, stealing, lying, or many other harmful things.

You are arguing that propaganda is the solution to climate change. That manipulating people by appealing to their emotions will lower the carbon in the air.

But, you are missing that whoever controls the best manipulation tactic decides the outcome of that manipulation. Want to guess who that will be? The rich and powerful is my guess.

I think we could fix the climate in one simple way, stop polluting. The problem with this is that then the US isn't the biggest polluter, so that is not a "feel good" message.


I'm trying to show you that in your cynicism you're talking a lot without saying anything. The purpose of life is to become utterly selfless and infinitely loving, but this is the highest consciousness, failing to do this is living hell. If the collective level of consciousness in humanity rises, we will be much better equipped to choose correctly as a collective organism. Those people who are polluting, murdering, lying (deliberate or ignorant), stealing, raping etc., they are not separate from you.


I applaud your greater perspective and motive, but at the end of the day a very real course of action needs to happen. Do we turn right or turn left? That decision needs to be based on achieving a very real goal.

As adults we have to do things we don't like every day to achieve our goals. We have to choose things that make us unhappy and miserable so our kids have food. Emotions are more often our enemy than our friend.

Science and truth are always neutral, and must be the basis of decisions, unless you are going to agree that we must act like adults and tell everyone they need to chose misery to make a change.

I agree with that, but the people saying it aren't doing it first. That is hypocrisy and the worst form of leadership, and is the enemy of change. Therefore, until the current hypocrite leaders of climate change are replaced with honorable doers, nothing will change.

And shaming the followers into following hypocritical leaders is a recipe for disaster. Hypocrites have no moral base, and act to their own benefit, not yours, the planets only their own.


It takes raising your level of consciousness to overcome hypocrisy, self-bias, and to act honorably even when honor is made up.


We have absolutely done things which lower murder rates and theft though.


Have we done _nothing_ to improve the environment that effects the climate? Nothing at all?


> Science is facts, cold hard facts.

How do you figure?


How I "feel" about a scientific result is irrelevant to the result. (ie, if I am mad or happy, it doesn't _affect_ the result)

Therefore feelings are irrelevant to both the scientific process and the results found from using it.


It does not follow, for either result or the process. For example, whether or not a scientist or you feels like a result is relevant or interesting is crucial to the scientific process.

Have you ever met a scientist in their element? They are passionate, mercurial creatures who will bitterly feud as well as sing the highest praise about their work. This seems to be integral to the process. Curiosity is a feeling, too.

I think you're idealizing science and I don't even think your ideal is a particularly useful aspiration for scientific activity.


Science is simple, if something works, you can prove it.

I am not idealizing anything, it's an indisputable fact that repeatable scientific results are repeatable by anyone.

There are real solutions to climate change, they can be implemented today, right now. And the followers in society have nothing to do with it, it's the leader responsibility to implement.

“If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell”

― Carl Sandburg


Right, but they're very relevant to the process of convincing people to accept those results, which is potentially a big part of the solution.


This seems to be the mantra, justify manipulation of people through emotions to push through a solution.

The problem with this is that who decides what solution? If the motive for the solution is emotions, then any solution that "feels good" or "appears to solve" the problem will suffice.


> If the motive for the solution is emotions

This is a stark misrepresentation of my point. Persuading people to accept climate change is (or at least may well be) part of the solution. Persuasion involves an emotional aspect for the majority of people.

On a broader note, motives unavoidably involve emotion, or at least a value judgement. Scientific results never inform what ought to be done. Science does not provide values. It's a tool that helps us to achieve valued outcomes.


That’s correct, but science also won’t solve this.

This is a political/social issue that has to be approached this way. The science should inform our decisions but in order to reach that goal one might have to do more than insist that the science is correct and doesn’t care about your emotions.


Is there a non-science based solution for fixing the climate?

Those that argue against science tend to argue that myths are real. Like the existence of aliens, crystals have magic powers, aligning of chakras, etc...

Edit: An example of science fixing pollution:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20774621


In your fervor to dismiss the human experience it appears that you have played a bit loose with the logical formation of your argument and thereby missed an important point. Your premise is that the veracity of previously-achieved scientific results holds independent of human opinion or emotion. You then use this basis to conclude that "...feelings are irrelevant to both the scientific process and the results found from using it." But here you are 1) confusing the product of the scientific process (a distinctly human endeavor with obvious limitations) with the actual nature of reality that said process is attempting to probe, and 2) conflating the achieved results of the process with the process itself. In fact, nearly every novel scientific result achieved is the product of a human mind's creative efforts (and sometimes fortunate accidents). The enthusiasm, open-mindedness, and feelings of a scientist absolutely impact his or her line of thought and level of creativity and therefore directly influence the set of scientific results that are generated by the scientific process. Our ability to probe reality is correlated with our ability to imagine and intuit relationships (and to construct experiments that may illuminate them); our imagination and intuition are correlated with our current and past emotional states. Ergo, human feelings directly impact the output of the scientific process and our understanding of the natural laws underpinning reality.

You may consider the case of pure mathematics, where intensely creative and open-minded individuals manipulate exotic structures atop towering ladders of abstraction; such exploration is the source of much of our most powerful technology and insights into reality. If you listen to explanations of the working methods employed by mathematicians many of them will claim that among the tools they rely upon most heavily are intuition and "feeling".

Once you move beyond the unfortunate anti-human perspective of what I'll half-jokingly call "extreme scientific materialism" and accept the fundamental role of the human experience in the unfolding of the cosmos you might come to see that a mind bent on pure rationality (to the exclusion of all else) is like a beautiful, fueled-up airplane idling on the runway with no pilot in it.


I won't pretend feelings don't exist, science can't even measure them. I am simply arguing that we need a real solution, and how we feel about that solution doesn't change whether it will work or not.

A non-functioning solution that feels good won't fix the climate. Arguing that feelings are relevant isn't a fix.

The great leaders down through history did not rely on making people feel good, they did the opposite. They inspired people to take on real difficulties. To face _not_ feeling good.

That is the problem right now, hypocritical leadership has no ability to inspire or motivate and will not make any changes to the climate.


I don't know. I read the article as, "yes, climate change is bad, there is not much you can do about it on individual level, this can cause depression, please don't be depressed". What's your problem with that?


“The climate is always changing”

After you’ve had 100 people tell you that, you’ll probably change your mind.

Social media has made the problem worse. For some reason, deniers flood the discussion with silly statements like that.

I keep the xkcd cartoon handy for any discussions:

https://xkcd.com/1732/


There are people who stand ready to deny that cartoon too, though... :/ I mean, not even common sense insurance talk works on these guys. Here, kitty, kitty, insurance can save you (and me) from the cancer known as end of the world. No? You'd rather that we both die... Great...


"You'd rather that we both die... Great..."

Nothing I said can be interpreted as saying this.


No. I completely agree with you. I'm just lamenting about the people I meet, who deny all this, outside logic.


Do you think we as society are going to change fast enough to combat the challenges we are currently facing? It seems that we are all just repeating past mistakes in a grander scale.


No. We will only change faster once the situation becomes dire (crop failures, heat waves you can’t fight with AC, roads and bridges failing from the heat), and there will be much suffering due to the delay.

Prepare yourself if you can.


I don't blame you for this because you're probably in the US, and probably not in agriculture, but we are having crop failures. In the US. Massive ones. It's not just heatwaves, but increased thunderstorm sizes (hail) and increase rainfall during vulnerable planting and harvesting periods. A lot of this spring was washed out in parts of the US Midwest.

Globally, it's much worse. People are showing up from Central America because of crop failures. That is climate change induced human migration. Syria collapsed because of climate change based crop failures. The "Arab Sprint" was in large part because of agricultural productivity issues due to climate change. Large cities in Africa and south Asia are running out of water.


I should’ve been more specific. Crop failures where middle class Americans start to starve. Society is nine meals away from revolution. Keep a close eye on US grain reserves and other ag indicators.

I agree with your points that crops are already failing. It just hasn’t impact the first world middle class yet.


I disagree. Most of America is already onboard; it's just being held back from progress by its non democratic systems, a minority that clings to power, and power systems that can spend unbounded amounts of money for short term profits.


Can you show evidence that a majority is onboard? People are still using petroleum like it’s going out of style, and no one wants a carbon tax.


If those Democratic systems worked we'd have had Gore in 2000 and a different world.


Can you provide a source for some of these claims? I'm not doubting you, I just want to see for myself.


A single society is too broad a lens. There are countless different cultures... some are on board already, some can still be convinced, some can be negotiated with... but some will have to be forced to come along kicking and screaming. You can't get a willing consensus of 7 billion people, and it just takes one idiotic group of people unwilling to play ball to ruin the planet.


I just hope the last warning will be shocking and soon enough to combat the problem. Of course, if it hasn't happened already.


my current view is that the change will happen to us regardless. we will be forced to respond in some way


Sorry man, but all your hopes look pretty bad (as any other average eco-enthusiast hopes do).

1. Renewable energy (solar and wind mainly) is shitty mostly, not delivering, huge resources required, and huge backup battery/hydro storage required. SOLUTION = Nuclear

2. EV cars are junk, poorly packed energy, much less than gasoline per kg, giving bad range and big mass overhead to vehicle (meaning also bigger energy consumption). You just feel eco but price is paid in electrical infrastructure / power-plants / battery materials. SOLUTION=Nuclear again, then you can pack your cheap electricity back to chemical energy and use totally clean ICE which now has totally clean exhaustion (no impure fossil shit).

3. Recycling (although not highlighted in article) is waste of time and resources (mostly), moving junk around the globe so that you can feel green :D SOLUTION=Nuclear again, just get abundant cheep electricity and burn it with plasma torches. Don't send you garbage to China, even they don't want it.

In short, Fusion would be great, Fission will save us also. Just stop wasting time/money/resources on other stupid ideas that change nothing and sometimes do more harm than original solution they have replaced.


We have about 10 years of emissions left if we want to stay below 2°. Building nuclear plants takes ten years on average, at the current rate of building them. If you wanted to suddenly build two or three orders of magnitude more, you'd first have to scale up the supply chain, e.g. for pressure vessels.

There is not enough time left for a nuclear revolution.


And there's enough time for a solar or wind revolution?

It's not like solar panels come out of thin air either. Same with windmills...

To build solar or wind at the scale we need would be quite the "revolution". Probably even more so than nuclear because you'd have no way to store the energy unless you went absolutely mad with lithium mining and battery production. Which would also take years to scale.

Truth is - both options are difficult. But I think nuclear is a lot easier and it's surprising that it meets so much resistance all the time. It's much more like take a few square miles out of a few geographies and you get reliable power. Versus - miles and miles of solar panels (that you may or may not be able to fly over and are very prone to the weather of the day) or windmills (killing all the birds and not so great sound for anyone close). And then the battery farms you gotta spread around everywhere... Or have everyone purchase $5,000+ in batteries that have to be replaced every X years.


Renewables have the benefit that they provide a gradual reduction in CO2 emissions that starts basically right now, compared to not reducing emissions at all until the reactors go online.


I think the scale required to do batteries + solar + wind is much greater than building nuclear power plants.

I know that nuclear power plants are a large scale event but so is creating a factory to make PVs. Same with lithium mines. Same with refinement of that lithium. Now we're getting into having to create lots of steel for wind turbines too.

In my mind, you get to the end in 10 years with nuclear. With solar, you get to production capacity to solve the issue in 10 years while slowly addressing the problem along the way. I think the dent you'd make in 10 years while ramping up to production capacity would at best just match increased demand.

Then you have large swaths of land that are dedicated to solar cells, wind turbines, refineries, factories, and mines we had to use for all the lithium. (Not that some of those won't exist for nuclear)


IMO the situation is dire enough that we should just follow both paths simultaneously. Build as much nuclear as we can, but also build as much renewables as we can.


I don't think that "industry capacity" is problem for nuclear option. That problem is in peoples minds and public opinion thanks to Chernobyl and Fukushima.

Check out how fast you can ramp up production when in need :D http://mathscinotes.com/2017/09/ww2-tank-production-comparis... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_production_during_Wor...

Problem is that if you ramp up solar/wind you will have to ramp up battery/hydro for backup if you want to stay clean. Nuclear does not need batteries. If you have cheap nuclear, than you make real changes in transport and recycling.


> We have about 10 years of emissions left if we want to stay below 2°.

First off, if that is the case you can be sure we'll end "above 2°" (by which I'm sure you mean 2° above some earlier average). China and India alone have massive projected tails for their CO2 output.

Second, "10 years of emissions left"? You're suggesting that somehow C02 emissions could be curtailed completely within 10 years? Absurd...

Neither transient or equilibrium climate sensitivity are known well enough to make such pronouncements - but the global warming alarmists feel it necessary to periodically throw a deadline out there. They think it's good psychology, and will lead to more panic...whether or not such panic is actually justified.


No, I'm suggesting that we start a linear reduction right now and be done in 20 years. Perhaps overshoot the target by a few years and pay for it with carbon sequestration.


Your "we" includes every nation on Earth? Including China and India who have built many coal fired electricity plants lately, and have plans to build many more? Plants that have design lifetimes of ~40 years?

You expect to have all fossil fuel powered vehicles worldwide phased out within 20 years? Including aircraft? What about cargo ships?

There is no practical chance of even hitting the lowest trajectory IPCC target, much less something considerably below that.


Well then we probably shouldn't even try right? Just keep on accelerating towards that cliff.


Did I say that? What does make sense is to do cost effective, beneficial, and non-sacrificial things.

One of the best things overall is to promote next generation nuclear power as a major alternative to coal. If coal could be phased out entirely within 20-30 years that would be a huge win. Perhaps grid storage could largely replace gas generation.

That would leave fossil fuels mainly in transportation, which would be a giant improvement over today.

Lower CO2 trajectories give more time to rigorously evaluate the science, get more data, and develop revolutionary technology.


Also, about 1/3 of CO2 emissions of nuclear power gets created during construction, ie. building a ton of nuclear in the next ten year would produce a huge amount of CO2 before we get any benefits.


Same with solar and wind, I think even worse.


Uh, yes but it doesn't take 10 years before you get energy out of it?


The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.


Genuine question: if you had to pinpoint a small number of sources that led you to these opinions on renewables, EVs, recycling and nuclear power, what would they be?


Sad thing is, I don't have it. I am forming my opinions during last decade or so from various sources, books and articles, I mostly look at numbers, and numbers of top eco friendly ventures look bad and bloated. I am considering to aggregate all this is more serious article backed with sources. I can give you just few last ones that have left a mark on my opinion and still can remember the source :)

Recycling: https://www.ft.com/content/360e2524-d71a-11e8-a854-33d6f82e6... Just look how much waste is going around a globe and do rough calculation how much oil is used only for transport!

Nuclear energy danger??? https://ourworldindata.org/what-is-the-safest-form-of-energy I am deeply sad because events like Chernobyl and Fukushima have stopped nuclear revolution when it could have made huge difference. Remember that Fukushima had 15000+ dead from tsunami and only 1 from radiation!

I will try to remeber/find more, at work now so...


I feel that a major part of the problem is misguided activism.

I'll give one example.

IMO, the solution to the energy problem is obvious: Nuclear. Nuclear is the safest, cleanest, and most stable form of energy production we have right now. It really works great. We should close all coal/gas plants and replace them with nuclear plants asap. Nuclear's best feature is that it produces no carbon to the atmosphere, and right now, that should be our main concern. But it just so happens that it's also the safest form of energy (death per kwh) and the most stable (active production days per year). Plus we know how to take care of the nuclear waste. Sure it has disadvantages but the overall solution given our situation is totally clear. [0]

The only reason this doesn't happen is the public's perception of nuclear being "evil" and radiation being scary. So no politician despite their good intentions can ever hope to rally the people behind them with this idea.

So we push wind and solar which are a joke. Especially given the urgency of the times. When we site "Renewable energy" we mean bio-mass. [1]. Bio-mass is just burn wood. It's renewable because it releases young carbon so its net-zero emissions.

[0] https://ourworldindata.org/what-is-the-safest-form-of-energy [1] https://ourworldindata.org/renewable-energy


You were very right 10 years ago. Two things have changed in the last decade:

- the price of wind and solar and batteries have dropped dramatically, making them price competitive with coal and vastly cheaper than nuclear.

- we're running out of time. We need to get these plants active within a decade and nuclear plants take longer than that to build. We've lost the institutional knowledge on how to build them.


I joke with Andrew Winston that after each of our conversations I require a stiff vodka martini. The thing is we must listen. Start here. It’s as rational a view as you will find


It's hard to motivate oneself to act knowing the act is futile. I was a vegetarian for a decade and a half. What did that achieve for climate change (or unrelated for animal welfare)? Nothing. Because it's almost irrelevant in the grand scheme of things especially when most greenhouse gas emissions come from the commercial sector by far. And especially when the commercial sector and political sector that's supposed to govern it aren't doing shit to solve this, especially in America. As another comment points out, we've had the solution for over half a century: nuclear. But we haven't done shit. That's the kind of action that could really help the situation. Other countries are doing a lot better but without collective action it's unlikely we can solve this in time, especially with the politicians in power in the US. In the US this is somehow a partisan issue because the people in power would prefer to kill most human beings on earth and a million other species rather than lose a little money on their fossile fuel investments.

On the scale in the linked article, I'm probably a four or five, but I'm also in my late thirties and don't plan to have kids. So while I stay informed, I don't worry. If I was younger or planned to have kids, I'd be fuming. It's unbelievable how badly our so called leaders, especially in the US have fucked us.


Late to this, but I commented in 2 recent discussions:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20339865

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20353814

...in effect that we are not competent to solve this or our other key problems while rejecting the creator (and basic rules like honesty and the Golden Rule), and that none of the current events should be surprising at all, though they are sad. These are predicted, expected, and it will get worse, but we can be at peace and seek good things, and really, we can be OK. Linked to details on why I think that, and more info.


From “Climate Change: How Do We Know” from NASA, mentioned in this article, there is a carbon level rise and fall graph which looks almost periodic. Perhaps the previous cases of cause and effect help us to be aware of the present situation?

For example- Do we know what took the carbon dioxide level high during 400000 and 320000 years ago, aftermath and things that brought the level down eventually in next few thousand years before the rise (again)?

[1] https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/


Look at it overlayed with this graphic of ice ages: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_age#/media/File:Ice_Age_Te...


I wish I could adequately apologize to my Stepdaughter about the climate disaster. She's almost 20 and will have to live the majority of her life dealing with the effects of the collective acts of human stupidity over the past 200+ years.

I want to sponsor planting trees, but I worry that we're doing far too little, far too late.


So it's better to just do nothing?

We're fucked, but at least have your conscience clean. Anything helps: eat less meat, plant some trees, start recycling, bike to work, refuse single-use plastic, sacrifice a little bit of your personal convenience for the benefit of the planet. Do anything you weren't doing until today.

Nobody will save the planet on their own, but a large swath of people doing one single thing is bound to have some effect. It won't cancel out the damage for sure, but at least it would minimize the effects a tiny bit.


> Nobody will save the planet on their own

Quite. As I did in another thread, I'd like to point to the Extinction Rebellion as a pragmatic way to panic (eh, act):

Worl/UK: https://rebellion.earth/the-truth/demands/

USA: https://extinctionrebellion.us/demands

[ed: also mentioned in tfa.]


Thank you. I've been scolded a bit by the replies here, so I know I need to examine what I'm not doing and remedy that.


Our youngest is about the same age, and I'm equally conflicted. We've done what we can, in part because I want to be able to look my youngest in the eye, but I'm aware that 95% of what's needed is entirely out of our control. Personal acts can't begin to compensate for government policy on fuel, subsidies, lack of a carbon tax etc.


Honestly that sounds like an excuse to do nothing, that you are not truly serious about it.

The last best time was yestrday. The next best one is now.


That cuts deep. It's very easy to put things off and believe that I'm helpless. Thank you for being blunt about it.

I'll do something today about the climate and planting trees. I'm not physically able to plant stuff myself, so it will have to be something I donate to. I can also push my employer to start sponsoring climate disaster mitigation efforts.


You might want to consider donating to some of the groups that have sprung up. Two that have had recent visibility are:

Extinction Rebellion, organisers of the civil disobedience protests in the UK and elsewhere - https://rebellion.earth

Client Earth, a legal charity aiming to repeatedly take governments to court on climate matters. Became much more visible when Dave Gilmour made a major donation recently: https://www.clientearth.org


Got any good US-based charity recommendations? Both of those seem Euro-centric.


XR has a US site: https://extinctionrebellion.us

They're not quite as established in the US yet as they landed there later, but are active and growing. The whole movement is only around a year or so old. They've achieved remarkable visibility and growth the time since the first UK demos.

Client Earth has a US arm: https://www.clientearth.org/usa/ though it doesn't look terribly active. I suspect there are better US equivalents that have achieved more stateside. I don't know who though, sorry.


Update: Coincidentally I just saw a news item about a US equivalent of Climate Earth: https://earthjustice.org who seem to have considerable history and track record. They just launched a law suit over the Endangered Species Act.



“When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.” -Elon Musk

If nobody ever tries, nothing will ever change. Change inspires change. Someone seeing you plant a tree might very well decide to plant one themselves.


Were I to have a step-daughter, I would apologize for nothing. I've gone without a car in cities that were designed for nothing but. I recycled when the waste company charged for the privilege. Etc., etc., you get the point. I continue to reduce my carbon footprint as best I know how to this day, and will continue to do so in the future. Have I chosen the most effective means? Nope, not always; probably not even most of the time. Sometimes I miss the forest for the trees, and sometimes I just make bad choices based on bad information. But I keep at it.

Live a life that requires no apology, starting today. Too little, too late? I don't know, not much I can do about that. But what I can do is live a life less impactful on the environment, which is what I ought to be doing climate change or not. Perhaps climate change is your personal wake up call to dial back on the life of consumerism. Maybe it's a call to examine some other aspect of your life, I dunno. Regardless, it is an opportunity for examination, and answering the question of your place in the your environment and your impact on it. The rest of it will take care of itself, one way or another.


"I want to sponsor planting trees"

... why aren't you, then? Taking personal steps towards improving things is by far the best thing you can do for your personal feelings of guilt. It won't solve the bigger issues. But collective behavior is built on lots of independent individual action.


See my response to another comment like yours. It's easy to convince myself I'm helpless, and your comment combined with the other one have smacked me around a bit and made me re-examine what I can do today.


I have a similar situation, and individual action and contributing to collective action (donations to groups, low level advocacy) has helped with the feeling of guilt. It's how large level change will happen, too.

There is a technical ability to save this. There is a long way to go in a relatively short time to create the necessary awareness and accept the necessary "sacrifices".

Thanks for the reply, and I'm really happy to hear that.


I want to find a way to spend the majority of my time fighting this. That means paid work, unfortunately, because I'm not rich enough to retire.

Do you have any idea how I, or anyone else, can do this?


If you are physically able to plant trees, then find a local organization and volunteer. Easier said than done, but I think that's something a lot of people could do to make a definitive step towards fighting the climate disaster.


It doesn't have to be a majority of your time - just do what you can, it's better than not doing anything.


Thanks, and I do, but I want to do more. Already got a remote job and moved to a field to reforest, etc. But real change means more than personal choices.


The article mentions that political action is the top recommendation from activists, and I agree.

So if you're serious, try to get a career in politics. Good Luck!


"The news is bad. That’s not negativity or pessimism; that’s a cold, hard reading of the situation, much like an honest cancer diagnosis from a doctor." This is how I feel. Sometimes I am down about and feel like all could be for naught, that existence is pointless if we do not sustain the planet.


The problem with climate change isn't climate change. It's because it has become co-opted by politics. It's now impossible to discuss climate change without becoming political.

The politics don't even agree relative to the side. Climate change has left the spectrum of left-right wing.


Any change that affects society is going to be political. Why is this a surprise? How could it be different?


The problem is that the issue itself became a polarized political point, which resulted in the people who view politics more similar to sport teams than steering society to hardline for/against the issue without even knowing what the issue is about. And I attribute this phenomena wholly to our big political leaders, who go in front of a camera and devote themself fully to solving complicated situation [x] as the cornerstone & identity of their party, automatically causing the other party to fight against it; in this case I believe it happened with Gore during the 2000 campaign. Without this whole polarization effect carbon reduction could have easily been non-eventful manner that CFCs or smog was handled in the 70s, instead you have people denying/evangelizing the effect just because the guy on the TV with the matching letter next to his name told them to.

This isn't just something unique to environmentalism either; I believe the same thing happened to net neutrality when Obama made a big speech about it when 90% of Americans didn't even care about it beforehand, and I'm hoping to god the same thing doesn't happen to the right to repair because all successful progress on it will grind to a halt the minute it does.


Lets take Acid rain for example. This was a major environmental problem. It never got political. We determined it was the fault of coal power plants. We then fixed that problem with legislation. Acid rain hasn't really been a problem since.

The problem of politicization of climate change are people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She has declared that the world will be uninhabitable in less than 12 years. Humanity will be dead in 12 years.

Her fix? She wants to ban airplanes, boats, and cars(non-electric) this sounds rather absurd. A democratic senator from Hawaii asked her what she thought about what would happen to Hawaii. She didnt have an answer. Then she went further. They want to basically setup the various usual communist things. This is the real goal of the new green deal. Her own chief of staff publicly admitted the new green deal originally didn't have anything to do with the climate. It was entirely about pushing a communist agenda.

Which is why it was voted down unanimously in the senate.

They don't care about climate change, they are using it in name to push their agenda.


Every climate change mitigation has different trade off, different winners and losers, different sacrifice to be made. So generally deciding what to do as at the scale of the society, or maybe in this case the global civilization, is political.


I read that a single cargo ship pollutes more than the entire car park of many countries(!), and so I figured, it's just common sense to support autonomous sail ships. I don't know how much pollution we could save, but I'm guessing between thousands to millions of tons each year. I think this will work, because not all cargo is time-intensive as long as there's good logistics behind it. And I think autonomous sail ships could really make a difference here. I really want to get into this. Can someone help me? :)


THIS IS AN EMERGENCY


Nobody mention population.


For what it's worth Project Drawdown [0] has in the top ten solutions :

6 Educating Girls

7 Family Planning

This is only a polite way to say we are overpopulated and should have fewer children.

[0] https://www.drawdown.org/solutions-summary-by-rank


Do you propose reducing the population to zero over the next twenty years? If not then you don't solve the problem.


If growth is as predicted in India and Africa (for example), then even the most extreme penitent self-flagellation in the developed world will not make a blind bit of difference.


If the developed nations figure out how to live sustainably, India and Africa can just do the same.


Exactly. Any time overpopulation isn't mentioned as a (or 'the') primary cause, my nictitating membranes close up and I lose interest in reading.

kilian 30 days ago [flagged]

I have a hard time seeing the overpopulation argument as anything other than classist and racist nonsense.

It's not the vast majority in developing nations that are using up all our fossil fuels and poisoning the planet, it's us. And the damage being done in developing nations is nearly all to serve our needs in the developed world. We are the problem.

See also things like https://www.euronews.com/2019/06/10/carnival-cruise-ships-pr...


Dunno why it's classist or racist. I'll put forth the proposition that there are too many people in the US.

Imagine the greenhouse load reduction from having half the population. It wouldn't surprise me if it's easier to push population growth down than it is to have good habits, especially after the low hanging fruit is plucked.


I don't know who you mean by "us," but while this distribution is somewhat top heavy, it's not something where even if the most destructive country took its emissions to zero, the world would be safe.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_greenhous...


[flagged]

kilian 30 days ago [flagged]

Sorry, but that's really on the nose racism.

If the developed world (that's us) fixes the way they consume and becomes sustainable, then it doesn't matter how much people consume sustainably because it'll be...you know, sustainable.


I'm sure the emotions are genuine, but articles like this leave me with a sense that those concerned are waiting for others (especially "leaders") to make something happen. They want electric cars to be mandated so they can continue their addiction to the automobile despite the severe environmental effects of car culture regardless of the fuel source. They want government to force companies to develop carbon neutral everything so that they can continue their lives of consumption uninterrupted.

We control our own actions. Our continued individual consumption leads to CO2 emissions. It's in our power to radically reduce our own carbon footprint by scaling back our lives. Not seeking out environmentally-friendly alternatives, but by curbing our out-of-control consumption urges which lie at the heart of this entire mess.

However, this requires painful, life-changing choices for many. Foregoing the house in the burbs for a walkable/rideable commute. Shunning unsustainable locations like Silicon Valley, even if that means reduction in income. Scaling way back on air travel. Avoiding foods grown in rainforest whose consumption encourages deforestation (e.g., coffee). Living far below our means, in other words.

Stop blaming Trump. Rejoining the Paris Accords won't solve the problem. Far more radical adjustments will be needed to prevent even the mildest effects now being predicted.

I want to see people voicing climate change concerns recommending the only thing that audience members can directly control - live a far simpler life and start doing it now. Stop complaining about how impractical this option is. This is what every "leader" is doing, from CEOs to presidents. Act - just like you are expecting others to do so.


The trouble is, making sacrifices for yourself, as a voluntary moral choice, and just expecting other people to do the same is not going to be a successful strategy, because you're up against human nature itself.

Any pragmatic strategy to reduce the impact of climate change must start with international cooperation. From the point of view of the USA, this must start with a new administration. Then, with this cooperation we could find actions not strictly rooted in dreamy idealism, including enforcing the changes in lifestyle you mention at scale. (Through agreements, tariffs, etc.) A real global strategy also needs to involve some very bitter pills and compromises, e.g. taking a fresh look at nuclear, geoengineering research, and having the hard conversations about global population growth in emerging countries, and what people will do in the vast regions of the world which won't be habitable for much longer.

Any other strategy is just wishful thinking, and avoiding the cold hard facts. And the facts on this will catch up. All the trees you can plant or the most frugal lifestyle you are capable of will make precisely zero difference if it isn't based on global cooperation. Andrew Yang in the most recent democratic debate was right: a lot of the damage is already done and some of the discussion needs to be about how we can move to higher ground.


> making sacrifices for yourself, as a voluntary moral choice, and just expecting other people to do the same is not going to be a successful strategy, because you're up against human nature itself.

I have the opposite experience in my life so far (40yo), and I am a perpetrator of this “strategy”.

Ask yourself, for example, why the nature of humans is that hopeless for you. How are the humans around you? (also those in the news)

What if - before fixing earth - i fix myself? My circle of friends, of colleagues, the family... from my most intimate partner to the whole society it looks like a long way .

But I will be surprised how many humans can change for good, just because I was the one changing first.

it will never stop.


> From the point of view of the USA, this must start with a new administration.

Not much happened under the old administration. Things got worse.


Solving climate change is a collective action problem. Action taken with other people is the entire game.


How is that incompatible with what I said?


I can choose not to be a school shooter in an attempt to reduce shootings, too.

Personal choice matters little globally. It's too late for the pebbles to vote, so to speak.


> Personal choice matters little globally.

Is not the personal, voluntary choice to use Facebook a decision that matters globally? There is no compulsion or legislation there. At least not in the form that many might think.


[flagged]


> hold China and India responsible for their wildly outsized levels of pollution once you control for their per capita contribution to humanity

China and India contribute 4-10 times less CO2 per capita than the US.


You skipped the last part.

Personally I am not happy going down the route of weighting the value of humans, but if we don't come up a solution to global warming that is politically actionable, somebody will start arguing that the west should do something about the rise of China and India. If we can only support 4 billion people on the planet, nobody will want to be in the group that has to be killed.


The world doesn't care about per capita.


That’s an absurd statement and reeks of the most vile arrogance.

I’m so confused, do you honestly and in good faith make a statement like that? Do you not understand the disastrous social and political implications of approaching the problem like that? Do you not understand that fairness is central to this problem because a coordinated global effort is necessary and there is no fascist world police and hopefully never will be so we are dependent on convincing everyone and fairness is obviously central to this?

Humans care about per capita emissions because that’s one of the only ways to make this fair and we need to make this fair or else we will convince no one.

You are solving a social/political problem. Arrogant statements like yours won’t.


You won't make a difference until you stop the over population. The biggest contributor is simply being born.


Since the United States has one of the highest energy usage rates per capita, do you mean tackling overpopulation in the United States?


The US has 330 million people, China has nearly 1.5 billion. No I think the US is just fine.

Per capita only matters if you're okay ignoring the bulk of the problem.


The people in the world certainly care.


>China and India contribute 4-10 times less CO2 per capita than the US.

And rising, fast.

Besides that, the planet doesn't care about per capita numbers.


The planet also doesn't care about countries. Per capita seems to be the fairest comparison that one can make.


People do though. Why should we stunt the developing world's growth just because we've already fucked things up too much? Seems like colonialism all over; the West gets to keep polluting, but the developing world must stop developing?


If "stunting developing world growth" is too much of a cost to endure for your cause, then this isn't a WW2 level emergency. In WW2, the US deemed the ends to be important enough to kill innocent German/Japanese cogs and civilians by the millions.


It isn't that level of emergency. If it was, western governments would be curbing the largest producers of emissions. Not asking the populace and other nations to curb emissions while doing nothing about more egregious activities.


>Why should we stunt the developing world's growth just because we've already fucked things up too much?

If climate change is a real concern, it's going to be a requirement.


The West doesn't get to have a huge population (nor does it need or want one) why should the developing world have one?


It seems rational discussion is not what people actually want.

Hypocrisy is rampant in the discussion about climate change.

Irrationality and emotions are manipulation tactics, not solutions, therefore nothing will actually change with the climate.

The worst is when _real_ demonstrable solutions are presented and rejected because they don't "feel good" or make some kind of marketing splash.


Don't mistake a lack of empowerment with hypocrisy. When someone advocates for policy to limit the emissions of vehicles produced by the automotive industry, but happens to drive their car to work everyday, that's not hypocrisy. That's a person who is coping with the system around them, still advocating to change that system in the only way that is meaningful. Systemic changes require large actions. To pretend that individual actions alone will get us out of this death spiral is at best naive.


someone advocates for policy to limit the emissions of vehicles produced by the automotive industry, but happens to drive their car to work everyday, that's not hypocrisy

Agreed, but if a person who owns multiple homes and flies between them says it, it’s clear that they want you to believe something that they don’t believe themselves. The climate movement really needs to divest itself of celebrities because they do nothing but undermine the message.


I agree on your automotive analogy. But what about these?

1. Have fewer kids. (but only some countries)

2. Don't fly so much. (but we can fly anytime we want in our private planes)

3. Per capita pollution needs to go down. (but not for us and our private planes)

4. You need to lower carbon emissions by changing your purchasing habits. (but we can buy private yachts and multiple homes)

5. Use paper straws in plastic bags. (instead of plastic straws in paper bags)

6. Take action to prevent carbon increase (but only things we approve of (ie, no planting trees...))

etc...

It seems that the loudest and biggest hypocrites are the rich and powerful.


Good comment but prepare to be downvoted into oblivion.

If it is that much a threat, why aren't we primarily powered by nuclear? Cost can't be a factor because countries are bending over to spend hundreds of billions investing in some version of a green deal.

No compromises because it's too late for compromises they say. I wonder why


>f you want to stop climate change then, e.g., (and many of these will be uncomfortable to most here) give up your car, find jobs that are remote work or even better yet where you can walk to work, move to a temperate climate where little heat and cooling are needed, stop immigration of people from low impact regions to high impact regions

We can't all do this, unfortunately. And I don't mean "us on HackerNews", I mean "us, globally".

>dvocate for population control of African and Asian populations that are adding on the order of net 85 million additional humans to the planet every year

This is a tough one. It's widely known that simply being born or having children contributes more to climate change than almost every other single source. And yet, rapid population growth in the 2nd/3rd world is a taboo subject.


> And yet, rapid population growth in the 2nd/3rd world is a taboo subject.

Population control is a taboo subject anywhere, unfortunately.


I am in the same boat.

I don't even know why I have to be called a climate change denier or skeptic. The onus is on people who believe the climate is changing to prove it. As to say, it is not my job to disprove something that hasn't been proved.

Now obviously there is "proof" in circulation. But what is it proving? Have any prediction targets been met at all? How much will the sea tides rise and when? How much would have they risen given natural cycles? Even if man mad emissions weren't affecting the temperature would a climate scientist be able to predict the temperature 5 years from now?

Nasa has a few articles about how Earth is much greener than 40 years ago due to global warming -> https://climate.nasa.gov/climate_resources/3/graphic-warmer-...

Are we simply waiting for this new vegetation to mature and reduce carbon emissions? Is anyone factoring in potential plant growth? Could they even measure that? Maybe the earth knows how to naturally cycle?

As I've aged, all I have seen is men make futile predictions about everything under the sun. The more and more variables and extrapolations added to a problem generally leads to an exponentially bad answer. I'm sure anyone who works in a job that does heavy spread sheet work can twist any bunch of numbers to fit a departments desired figure.

Furthermore, the mass fervour of the world for climate change should induce skepticism. Where is everyone getting their sources from?

Arguments such as:

"Think about the children" "Save the planet"

Are typically go to answers of people who can't make a real point.

Now it is not anyone's fault that they should act hysterical, the authority that is trickling down all this information should be a bit more out spoken. The media also needs to drop the term "experts" and "scientists".

I'd just like to know, in 10 years from now, if carbon emissions were at 19th century level, what would be the temperature be? and at our current rate of carbon emission what will the temperature be? With what degree of accuracy will the figure hold up to? Other then reducing man made emissions, what other planetary behaviour will also reduce carbon emissions? Can they be predicted and have you included them in the report?

Not even going to bother with the political aspect of this all, which actually may well be the majority of this movement. If I truely believed climate change were a real problem for the world, as the above posted said, I would be going after all the billion person populations first and foremost.


I'm going to assume you are posting in good faith but to give you an honest answer I have a hard time engaging with posts like this because it reads like you've done no work to inform yourself.

> I'd just like to know, in 10 years from now, if carbon emissions were at 19th century level, what would be the temperature be? and at our current rate of carbon emission what will the temperature be? With what degree of accuracy will the figure hold up to?

People have written literally thousands of pages that would answer this question. There are hundreds of pages that give a more accessible overview of the research. It would take you less than a minute to start reading some of this

Five years ago when questions like this popped up I would dutifully take the 10 minutes to pull together some links that directly addressed the question.

> The onus is on people who believe the climate is changing to prove it

I don't disagree. But once the people who believe the climate is changing have written millions of words explaining what they believe is happening, surely there is some onus on internetposterN to read some of that before dismissing the entirety of the enterprise by raising a few questions


I agree with you generally about the hubris of people, even highly educated, re: the ability to forecast the future. And even accepting the predictions of various reports, etc. it's not completely clear that the world will be as bad as most are saying. We're richer than ever, all forecasts seem to point to a better world where even under the threat of climate change we'd be better off to cope with it than in any other timeline or point in history.


[flagged]


Why? The Allies fought and won WW2 without fascism. The UK had a coalition government of the two major parties for most of the war.

We need a WW2 scale response, perhaps with similar restrictions like rationing - only this time of carbon or flights etc. Once some nations are active, others will join. Perhaps we need to see carbon and environmental impacts baked into import tariffs to "encourage" reluctant others to join.


”The UK had a coalition government of the two major parties for most of the war.”

This was itself a suspension of normal democratic procedures and conventions. No elections were held in the UK between 1935 and the conclusion of the war in 1945.


Rather unavoidable don't you think? Mass mobilisation then cities being bombed and millions overseas makes a normal democratic election a tad difficult. Hence the continuation of National Government.

The thirties had a succession of mostly weak coalitions in response to the Great Depression.


The restrictions on freedom of speech, etc in the UK during WWII would easily be called facists today, and they are entirely incompatible with the US constitution.

I would also argue that rationing in general is incompatible with a free country. If necessary add a fair tax that is ear-marked to deal with global warming and which ofsets the damage. No reason to add more bureaucracy.


Depends - All countries restrict speech, including the US, it's only the degree. US Supreme court felt restricting speech against the draft in WW1 was constitutional, and only overridden half a century later. Limiting freedom of speech somewhat is miles away from becoming fascist.

I don't see how rationing impacts a free country one way or another as it's merely a method of achieving a fair distribution of a limited resource. The US also had rationing in WW2, introduced after Pearl Harbor. Was the US still a free country?


I would argue that it was less free.

But more to the point: rationing is stupid, since you are strictly better of taxing the good you want to limit, and if necessary spend some of the tax in direct payments to those with the least income. The free market will take care of pricing the use of the taxed commodity correctly and the poor will be better of.


Rationing isn't stupid, nor taxing necessarily better. If there's time it's no doubt better to start with taxation and see how far that gets us. Quite possibly not far enough:

In the case of wartime fuel rationing, and perhaps if we were to end up with a carbon ration, it achieves a fair distribution, without the wealthy simply being able to pay extra not to participate. With enough wealth someone may not care that something carries a punitive tax rate, and they can continue being part of the problem.

In times of crisis, such as wartime or a failing ecosystem, we may find that ability to pay your way out of it unacceptable. Reasonably so in my opinion.


We don't need a WW2 scale response, dedicating our entire economy to the effort. We need an Iraq war scale response: a small multiple trillions of dollars. And just like the Iraq war, the main impact to the American consumer will be in a big jump at the gas pumps and a significant chunk of their taxes going towards the effort.


If Climate Change bombs Pearl Harbour or another military target, we will probably go to war with it.


Instead of fascism you could opt for any ideology that leads to conflict and war that has a gigantic death toll. Fascism isn't really known for sudden deindustrialization and everyone becoming flower hippies though.

But at that point I would opt for letting climate change hit. In the absence of catastrophic events we will need more energy today than we needed yesterday. So either we find a solution to increasing needs or problems will arise.


”In the absence of catastrophic events we will need more energy today than we needed yesterday.”

In developed economies, this hasn’t been true in recent years.

Energy use (electricity, gas, coal, etc) peaked during the 2000s and has been mainly in decline since, despite economic and population growth.

Through improved technology, we have been able to extract more economic value from less energy. Hopefully this trend will continue.


Fascism does not have a good track record of accomplishing big goals.


I'm much more worried by that kind of extremism than by climate change itself.

Climate change could well kill us all, but at least we'll die free.


Being dead is permanent. Being unfree can be changed.


Yes, by moving to another planet for the opponents, good luck with that...


Hopefully it won’t come down to outright fascism, but the way our democracies work need to change in order to encourage more long term thinking on issues like climate change.

Politicians and voters too often act in short term self-interest rather than long-term economic and environmental interests.

“Give me that tax cut, big pickup truck, and cheap gas! Leave it to our grandchildren to figure out how to survive in the face of catastrophic global heating. Not our problem!”


I think a huge cultural change is definitely possible. Residents of India, for example, eat 3% of the meat that people in America [1]. A lot of it is because India is poorer, but a lot of it is due to cultural differences as well.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_meat_cons...


Or technology. If things like renewable energies and lab grown meat become cheaper and of higher quality than the natural/carbon emitting version then that changes the equation dramatically.

But I agree "everyone emit less carbon and hamstring your economy" will not work without literal worldwide fascism.


Maybe not fascism, but a benevolent dictatorship.

Anyway, that won't happen. At some point the effects of climate change will be so evident that everyone will scream for action. And at that point it will be too late to do anything meaningful.


Even if that were the only way, what are the odds fascists care about this problem enough to solve it? Clearly low: look at Brazil right now


Why is that?

Also, I detest fascism - but devil's advocate - is fascism worse than literal extinction?


Lebensraum ("living space") [0] was an argument used to justify the same thing. We don't have enough room for everyone...

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebensraum


Because I don't believe people and businesses can accomplish the individual environmental goals, much less fast enough, on their own. If human contribution to climate change is a result of aggregate behavior, then we're talking about drastically changing the micro behaviors (what you can eat, how you travel, no black markets, etc etc) of everyone on earth. I believe that can only be accomplished through extreme authoritarian control. As people start realizing they can't do it on their own and the various climate deadlines approach and pass, I believe they'll be more pliable to extreme forms of government.

>but devil's advocate - is fascism worse than literal extinction?

That's the question everyone will have to answer, and it probably boils down to the core of that person's philosophy. People who say "no" though should really consider all of the ugly side-effects that result from all-powerful authoritarian entities being able to control lives on a micro level.


Those side effects are hideous. Slavery, etc.

But I said "extinction". Meaning everyone - you, me, my kid, etc. dying, maybe horribly.


The decision has biased ambiguity. There is no such guarantee that a climate change extinction event will kill off all life, but if you are artificially adding that constraint, you should add a similar artificial constraint to what the fascist government is guaranteed to do or not do, or remove both constraints.


"Also, I detest fascism - but devil's advocate - is fascism worse than literal extinction?"

Why in the world do you think that democratic structures will make it intact through a descent into extinction. I'm not going to cite Mad Max as a sociological point, but society will break down under unmitigated global warming. When food and water safety cannot be met, law loses its authority. You can see this on a small scale after cyclone landfalls.


I don't. You and I agree.


Presenting the choice as between fascism and "literal extinction" is exactly why public support isn't there.


Fascists use the threat of "literal extinction" (or something like it) to "convince" their audience & opponents.


“Live free or die”


This is why we will never have consensus on remediation climate change. It’s not just individual anarchists but whole governments who will adopt this “me or not you” attitude.


[flagged]


[flagged]

iron0013 30 days ago [flagged]

So you think the comment above that advocates for fascism is referring to the Italian political party? Or are you just trying to muddy the water about what fascism actually is and who is a fascist?


Eh surely RonaldSchleifer comment shouldn't have been killed by flagging.


I don't even know why I have to be called a climate change denier or skeptic. The onus is on people who believe the climate is changing to prove it. As to say, it is not my job to disprove something that hasn't been proved.

Now obviously there is "proof" in circulation. But what is it proving? Have any prediction targets been met at all? How much will the sea tides rise and when? How much would have they risen given natural cycles? Even if man mad emissions weren't affecting the temperature would a climate scientist be able to predict the temperature 5 years from now?

Nasa has a few articles about how Earth is much greener than 40 years ago due to global warming -> https://climate.nasa.gov/climate_resources/3/graphic-warmer-....

Are we simply waiting for this new vegetation to mature and reduce carbon emissions? Is anyone factoring in potential plant growth? Could they even measure that? Maybe the earth knows how to naturally cycle?

As I've aged, all I have seen is men make futile predictions about everything under the sun. The more and more variables and extrapolations added to a problem generally leads to an exponentially bad answer. I'm sure anyone who works in a job that does heavy spread sheet work can twist any bunch of numbers to fit a departments desired figure.

Furthermore, the mass fervour of the world for climate change should induce skepticism. Where is everyone getting their sources from?

Arguments such as:

"Think about the children" "Save the planet"

Are typically go to answers of people who can't make a real point.

Now it is not anyone's fault that they should act hysterical, the authority that is trickling down all this information should be a bit more out spoken. The media also needs to drop the term "experts" and "scientists".

I'd just like to know, in 10 years from now, if carbon emissions were at 19th century level, what would be the temperature be? and at our current rate of carbon emission what will the temperature be? With what degree of accuracy will the figure hold up to? Other then reducing man made emissions, what other planetary behaviour will also reduce carbon emissions? Can they be predicted and have you included them in the report?

Not even going to bother with the political aspect of this all, which actually may well be the majority of this movement. If I truely believed climate change were a real problem for the world, as the above posted said, I would be going after all the billion person populations first and foremost.


I've gotten a vasectomy exactly because it's clear that some of the worst outcomes of human-created climate change are inevitable, and I recommend anyone who cares about the environment and the well-being of their potential children to do the same.

My only question is what to do when the world actually ends in 10 or so years. I'm thinking of quitting my job in SF and moving to a rural area in northern midwest far from the oceans, but I haven't been able to get my family or friends to join me. I'm worried about the ahem political affiliations of those areas as well.

Does anybody have a good plan for what to do when the worst disasters occur? Like food shortages?


I'm sad about how many people destroy their lives because of Climate Change alarmism.

I wonder how many suicides are provoked by it, for example?


Wouldn't diving into the world of doomsday preppers assist you in planning? (I mean, stereotyping aside that they're all crackpots or w/e surely they'd be useful for the literal thing they're trying to do.)


"Doomsday planning for less crazy folks" is pretty good:

http://lcamtuf.coredump.cx/prep/


This is great, thank you!


I don't think that will happen in 10 years, probably more like 20-30 years unless a miracle happens and all humanity starts working together.


>Does anybody have a good plan for what to do when the worst disasters occur? Like food shortages?

We'll eat your 5 dogs!


Imo, it’s our kids that will help us to get through this. either directly or indirectly.


One problem with this is the exact type of person who would think to do this is probably the type of person we need more of. An Idiocracy will be even worse for the environment.


Encouraging the people concerned with the long term future to not have children is basically an amazing plan a super-villain could come with to ensure there will significantly less opposition to climate change in the next generation. Well done.


This is nature's gift to human kind that the winners of yesterday become the losers of tomorrow, and on it goes, always changing, always in balance.


>Does anybody have a good plan for what to do when the worst disasters occur? Like food shortages?

Don't worry, I'm sure all the farming, gun-toting deplorables that the coastal cities detest will be more than happy to take the city dwellers in....


Would you please stop using HN for political and ideological battle? Ditto for posting flamebait.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html




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