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Researchers are racing to find out why methane levels are increasing so fast (reuters.com)
147 points by SolaceQuantum 25 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 170 comments

There's already a news on front page at the moment which says bird population is declining in North America. The comments section mention that it's not just North America but also Britain, France and also that it could be due to declining insect population.

We rarely get this kind of data from developing countries, which means these studies are rarely or not at all performed simply because they don't have resources to focus on these causes. We have no idea how much worse the situation is.

Here we have methane levels increasing fast. There was another news that the third pole of earth i.e. Himalaya is melting rapidly. I am sure there are plenty more that I have missed.

Do we need more evidence to act? What are we waiting for?

> Do we need more evidence to act? What are we waiting for?

We're waiting for a reversal in the apparent worldwide collapse of liberal democracy, I guess.

Probably climate change and said collapse will feed into each other. The way most oligarchs and their toadies are wired, I think they're more likely to look to pull the ripcord for themselves rather than spend big on best-effort change for everyone else. Dismantling democracies like America must be a central pillar of their strategy for consolidating power.

Incidentally, right now the single person most standing in the way of positive change (and he has even been dismantling previous progress) is a comically narcissistic, borderline illiterate fraud artist who'll most likely be dead before the shit hits the fan even according to the most alarming predictions. I don't mean to say he's fully responsible (far from it), but that's a good proxy for where we're at.

Your mistake is assuming that democratic consensus will spur the kind of action we really need.

Once voters realize that this would take personal cost for benefits they won't see in their lifetime, I can't see them willfully voting for any substantial reversal.

> Once voters realize that this would take personal cost for benefits they won't see in their lifetime

Oh, they are feeling the personal costs of climate change. It's just the political machines are trying their best to hide this fact.

Example: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-northcarolina/north-c...

I think a generation of people are so brainwashed that they can never be convinced of the harms that climate change is having directly on them.

Well, I'm in Alberta, Canada, and I guarantee 95% of voters here would choose increasing oil production vs. any sort of climate action.

We just had a pretty bad recession, our unemployment is still above typical levels, and we just had an unseasonably cold summer after a pretty cold winter.

It's not an issue of being brainwashed, people really do prefer having jobs and homes over climate targets to fix a problem that isn't readily apparent.

And that's the issue isn't it? It's not readily apparent and the instant it is, we're essentially beyond hope of a fix.

I remember an argument I got into a while back, essentially it went

"They've been saying we'll be out of oil in 10 years for 30 years."

"They'll eventually be right, unless you think we have infinite oil."

"We can worry about it when it happens then."

Being proactive is hard, but surely it'd still be less effort than being reactive here?

This is why I really like Andrew Yang for 2020. He wants to give everyone in the US $1000/month so people don't constantly have "the economic boot on their neck". You can't worry about climate change when you are worried about paying bills and feeding your kids.

Basic income also means citizens can't be held as economic hostages by obsolete "too big to fail" industry players who've achieved significant regulatory capture. The labor market can't efficiently shift supply around when workers are trapped in crushing poverty and stressed to the breaking point.

When I think about basic income I see everyone suddenly being able to afford a lot more which is good and I like that. But what I do worry is that as soon as the stores realize people have more cash to spend they start to increase the prices to match that. So how do we prevent that if we implement a basic income? I think what would be better then a basic income is some sort of basic housing, health and food rights. I don't want 1000$ a month. I want to know every month I will have enough funds to feed my kids and house them and treat them when they are not well. I think this can be achieved by a number of means. I am Canadian so we have the health care mostly figured out though I would make changes to the cost of prescriptions for low income families. I have struggled at times to afford antibiotics for my kids and I make a lot more then minimum wage. The housing could be tackled as well. We have a lot of rules which I feel are restrictive for no reason in this day and age. For example the minimum square footage I can build a place for a person to live here is 700 square feet. My dad built a 2 level tiny home that was 100 square feet I would die to own. He had to put it on a trailer to avoid the 700 square foot rule. Why? My property could fit 20 tiny homes and have room left over to play. But the city would never allow it so I truly do think housing shortage is a political issue not a logistics issue. As for food, I would like to basically see a government funded/run food kitchen with basic foods offered to low income families where they can access nutritious food. I am thank full my kids school has a breakfast program, also thankful I do not need it, but come Christmas break, summer break, any break, my heart hurts a little knowing there are several kids that 100% rely on that program for getting food. One kid was caught stealing food and the teacher asked why are you trying to hide it you can eat as much as you like, his reply was his little brother at home who was too young to be in school was hungry so he was trying to take him something to eat. That is soul crushing to me. We live in such a damn rich county no kid should be left to go hungry at home. I don't have all the answers. I don't know how it would all be paid for but I do know something needs to change.

700 square feet? That's 65 square meters, who even wants that much space for one person? A good-sized flat for a person here has around 40 square meters, so 430 square feet. Insane.

My dads tiny home is 10x10 feet and has a second level which is really only 4 feet tall mainly for sleeping a tv and a dresser. The place is perfect for a single person. He went with closed cell spray foam and the place can be heated on a candle practically. It has a toilet and shower, mini fridge and sink. I will admit storage is a little tight but as for living space perfect for a single person. It was made to be extremely energy efficient and with climate change I think we should aim to be more like it not have some minimum.

Increasing consumer wealth is precisely why we have climate change. One would need to also implement large taxes/bans on co2 and other non-renewables and pollutants. At best this would be a net-zero situation. More likely it would reduce the lower to middle class’s wealth in real terms. Less airline flights, leisure cruises, manufactured goods, imported foods, not more.

Why not just go after the much smaller number of boot-wearers?

Wow. That’s not going to cause massive, crippling hyper inflation at all, is it.

Inflation comes from an increase in the money supply. If we printed the money for it, it would cause inflation, but he plans to tax it.

But even if we printed it, it would by no stretch of the imagination cause hyperinflation, just inflation. The M2 money supply -- still an incomplete measure, as there are lots of kinds of money -- in the US is 14 trillion and change, per Investopedia[1]. 12K per year * 350M people in the US = 4.2 trillion more dollars a year. Hyperinflation happens when a regime does something like double the money supply every week.

[1] https://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/moneysupply.asp

The economy isn't an undifferentiated lump of money, stuff and people. It is a complex structure. If most people have a lot more money, they will be able to afford a lot more of the stuff most people buy most of the time. So the inflation will be concentrated in staples and consumer goods simply due to greater demand versus supply.

If prices stayed as is, it's hard to see why anyone would do a lot of the low paid to medium income jobs many people currently do. But those jobs would still need to be done, which would drive up wages, but where is the money for the increased wages going to come from? Well, businesses would have to charge more. That's inflation again.

These effects would still happen, but might be mitigated by easing in a policy like this over time.

I'm not convinced about taxing it to make it fiscally neutral. A wealth of evidence shows that increasing taxes on the wealthy doesn't significantly increase tax revenue. They just progressively take more and more of their wealth out of the economy off shore, or move off shore themselves, along with their businesses. Many governments across the world have tried this and it just doesn't work.

I somewhat agree.

> inflation will be concentrated in staples and consumer goods

It would indeed raise prices unequally. That it would be in staples is not so clear; the US is not a place where many outside of childhood starve due to poverty. But whatever the next-most-urgent class of goods or services are -- home or car repairs, investments in health or education -- there would certainly be more demand for them. With greater demand comes initially an increase in prices. In the long term, in a competitive industry, an increase in supply that eliminates those excess profits. In oligopolistic sectors like education and healthcare, those rises in prices can somewhat persist.

In the long term, money are neutral while inequality is real. If you doubled the amount of money everyone had, prices would (eventually) double and nobody would be any better off. But if you give a fixed amount to everybody, you're muliplying the wealth of the poor by a much bigger factor than that of the rich. Prices will not adjust by enough to make the benefits to the poor outweigh the costs.

> If prices stayed as is, it's hard to see why anyone > would do a lot of the low paid to medium income jobs

Median income in the US is just shy of $60K today. US households routinely have both parents working multiple jobs. Almost nobody aspires to live on so little as $12K a year

Labor market outcomes would surely improve. A giant fraction of Americans currently don't have time to search as long as they would like between jobs; they've got to take an offer fast. The freedom to take, say, two months off to find a good match would not only help workers, it would make industry more productive.

> increasing taxes on the wealthy doesn't > significantly increase tax revenue

If that were true why would they be lobbying so hard against it?

There are, yes, a lot of loopholes in most tax codes. A rise in the tax rate that merely complicates it further will probably disappoint. But there are simple solutions. Equalizing tax rates across different kinds of income, for example, or imposing a wealth tax.

After numerous natural disasters, wars, etc, the one long-term constant for prosperity seems to be human capital.

If you have society that attracts the smartest individuals for the most productive professions (which is right now anything involving information technology), your society wins.

Your society will develop new concepts first, will be the first to sell it, and the first to reap revenues from it.

Besides, it is very easy to tax the megacorps.

Tariffs on intellectual property. Or reduce tax deductions on licensing fees. Bermuda is the center of intellectual property ownership.

The smartest people in the most productive professions are above average earners. How is taxing them into the ground going to attract them?

Taxing them into the ground would indeed be a bad idea. It's a question of levels. Tax rates in the 20th century for 55 years were above 50%, and for 45 of those were above 70%[1]. You get a lot more for being in the US than a certain tax rate.

[1] https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Historical_Marginal_...

If people being able to feed themselves would cause unsustainable inflation, then we have bigger problems.

That's such a myopic, small way to see the world. Human dignity is the priority, if our economy doesn't work for that then we change the economy, we don't give up on dignity.

I agree completely. Nobody should go hungry, without basic health care or without a roof over their heads in a modern advanced economy. But $1,000 a month for everybody is insane. It would require a massive tax on corporations and the wealthy, and it’s just an objective fact that raising taxes that way does not significantly increase tax income. It just doesn’t. It’s been tried over and over in many countries and it never works.

I live in the UK. We have universal health care, a robust social care model, my kids are getting a decent free education and we have a decent benefits system. I’m proud of all of those and don’t resent a single penny I pay in taxes towards it.

But plonking big wadges of cash on everybody, funded by hammering anybody that looks even moderately successful, is a recipe for economic mayhem.

It's not just jobs and homes (poorer people). It's everyone. Everyone is chasing the jonses and is convinced they don't have enough. I'd like a fifth car. And a bigger house. And more vacations.

I'm not saying I, personally, favor those things over what it will cost to limit climate change. But I think society as a whole doesn't have the stomach for it, and it's not just those living on the margins.

> people really do prefer having jobs and homes over climate targets to fix a problem that isn't readily apparent

That's a false equivalency. Jobs and homes exist in other places than Alberta and in other industries than oil extraction. Sure it will be painful to change for these Albertans but to argue that they have no choice but to vote for increasing oil production is just plain wrong.

Nobody said they have no choice - but they definitely won't vote to decrease oil production and if you think they voluntarily will you have your head in the sand

As an example of people being concretely impacted by climate change now, you are citing projected sea level increases. I think you could have probably picked a better article to prove your point.

That aside, the point I'm making is that it would still be much cheaper to relocate people from those coasts (in the immediate future) and engage in emergency preparedness than it would be to substantially mitigate our emissions output.

In the long term, that fucks us, but most voters aren't long term thinkers.

> Once voters realize that this would take personal cost for benefits they won't see in their lifetime, I can't see them willfully voting for any substantial reversal.

Luckily renewable energy is getting to the point where it actually saves money over fossil fuel based energy. People might be loathe to move to electric or fuel cell vehicles, but costs are coming down there too, not to mention that many governments are banning ICE vehicles anyway. So the costs of shifting may not be that bad, and people will be able to realize some cost savings.

Right now we're at a point in history where shifting to a carbon neutral economy will be uncomfortable in some ways, but not horribly painful.

But the longer we wait, the more likely it is that we'll experience a lot of pain from climate change consequences. And the climate change will destroy a tremendous amount of wealth, cause massive refugee crises, and cause massive drops in food supplies. When those things happen it's going to much harder to make the shifts to clean energy because many will just be worried about surviving disruption in the short term.

> many governments are banning ICE vehicles anyway

I'm going to hold off on giving these governments credit until one of these bans actually goes into effect. Even the most aggressive of the measures that has passed still has a decade in which to be weakened, delayed, or reversed.

By the time these bans come into force hardly anyone will be buying new ICE vehicles anyway. It's already cheaper to lease and run an EV than it is to lease and run an ICE.

The decline will be rapid. Why maintain a fuel supply chain when there aren't many customers?

The ICE vehicle bans don't seem realistic. If they set a goal like 10% sales first year, 20% next year etc, then I can understand a goal for a total ban in 10 years. Sometimes politicians set unrealistic goal expecting they won't be involved by the time the deadline reaches.


What we're starting to see is that enough major global markets have committed to banning combustion engines in cars in the next 10-20 years, that it will make economic sense for global auto manufacturers to focus their product development on alternative fuel vehicles.

Mercedes just announced that they will cease development of combustion engines to focus on EV's. VW Audi Group just said that this is their last generation of combustion engines. I suspect we'll see similar announcements from other manufacturers in not too long.

We may see some countries soften their goals, but I think if some of the big automotive players commit to having products available to meet those goals, there won't be much need to relax the goals. Only things that would cause a rollback is if anti-environmental politicians get into power or governments attempting to protect domestic car companies that are late making the shift.

I do like these goals though because even if Trump stripped California of some of its powers to regulate cars, ultimately the car manufacturers still are forced develop this technology to stay relevant in the world marketplace. If Ford and GM stay with ICE engines too long they will become obsolete.

(ICE = internal combustion engine)

> Once voters realize that this would take personal cost

This is why we need to make sure that voters feel that lost income from climate gas taxes goes directly back to them through other means. It could just be income tax subsidies for low income brackets. Or I mean anything that makes sense.

Taxing climate impacting practices doesn't need to have an overall negative impact on the economy of the average voter! This needs to be made super clear.

> Taxing climate impacting practices doesn't need to have an overall negative impact on the economy of the average voter! This needs to be made super clear.

Everything I've seen about the magnitude of change needed suggests this isn't true. And if we keep telling this story of "green growth", "only big corporations will have to sacrifice", you're going to get a ton of backlash once it becomes clear that is very much not the case.

And while we endlessly debate whether we should slam the brakes or take control of the wheel we are ruled by people that are hell bent on taking away the wheel and the brakes all together...

And if the carbon taxes or whatever else are revenue-neutral?

Some things (eg flights) would get much more expensive, whereas more efficient modes of transit (trains) would get relatively cheaper, and also be subsidized by the fliers.

It’s not like we run a balanced budget. I hate that we do this, but we can always add to the debt and expect future generations to pay it off.

I believe people are much more reasonable then you give them credit for. When properly informed they will make the right choices.

And the good news is that you don’t even need to wait for the majority to make the “right” vote. Apparently, it’s enough for the 3.5% of the population to take part in a sustained active resistance to bring about radical change [0]. This is also why I believe Extinction Rebellion is the last hope of humanity.

[0] https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YJSehRlU34w

The majority of people who believe in climate change would be unwilling to pay $10 a month to avert it entirely.

3.5/100 is for easy concessions that didn't actually require giving up capital (like race concessions, because racism is actively irrational). A rational actor today who only cares about their own interests (like the super rich) will fight tooth and nail to prevent any actual change to their consumption.

In a stable society situation, money tends to go to money and power tends to centralize.

Thus probably the rich enough can protect themselves and their children from climate effects. They can sacrifice the pawns. What's a hundred million refugees if they can prop up their coal investment for another decade.

It's not so much that voters are selfish (although some are; probably 20-30%) as that they don't like being ripped off and it has become very clear over the last ~30 years that all the happy talk of market economics is mostly self-serving BS.

We've seen from recent economic crises that people are willing to tolerate and even vote for austerity; but since then they've noticed that all the austerity happened to people at the bottom of the economic pyramid and those at the top barely suffered at all. They've also noticed that a considerable portion of their taxes is pent on policing whose purpose is not the prevention of crime but the maintenance of the economic status quo.

I don’t think it’s a mistake, but a prerequisite. Oligarchs and autocrats only have their own interests in mind.

>Once voters realize that this would take personal cost for benefits they won't see in their lifetime, I can't see them willfully voting for any substantial reversal.

Dying on a burning planet is a cost I expect to feel personally.

> Dying on a burning planet is a cost I expect to feel personally.

But you understand that isn't how the science works, right?

No, I legitimately thought that the food web was slowly collapsing from the bottom up while deforestation and desertification accelerate. I had thought we were either headed for starving to death or choking to death for lack of core biological dependencies (food and oxygen) once but no longer supplied by nature.

I see a darker possibility. Maybe we are acting.

Maybe governments and oligarchs in richer more powerful nations have concluded in secret that the situation is hopeless and that it's too late to prevent major climate change, so they are deploying totalitarianism.

When I see Trump's push to build the wall, I think maybe the wall is not for today's migrant workers and trickle of refugees. Maybe it's to wall off America from millions of refugees fleeing climate change related catastrophes and the resulting political instability. Trump's bizarre floating of a Greenland purchase? Maybe Greenland will be more valuable when the ice melts. The push to bring back lower-margin manufacturing even at the cost of an expensive and economically dangerous trade war? Maybe the people behind Trump see a global melt down (pun intended) as leading to a world with less international trade and more animosity and they want to make sure we have our own manufacturing capacity under our control. (I see Trump as a figurehead with a certain faction of the intelligence and American oligarch community behind him. He's an actor playing a part.)

When I see China's social credit system I think extreme system of social control to deal with the unrest that's likely to come. Maybe China is adding another 250GW of coal because the situation is hopeless anyway and they've calculated that it's better to accelerate their economic development so they have more resources going into this period. If the ship is sinking who cares if you put another hole in it, especially if it buys you more lifeboats.

Maybe Russia is building nuclear cruise missiles and other doomsday weapons to defend itself from China. (Others too, but China is the scariest threat in this scenario.) It like Canada has a huge territory with a small population relative to its size, but unlike Canada it does not have a superpower ally neighbor. If climate change warms northern Russia it could become prime farm land. Russia also has massive natural resources including probably a ton of undiscovered rare Earths and lithium for high technology and batteries. I could see China with its 1.3 billion people living in low-lying areas that are likely to be flooded in a worst case scenario deciding that it's going to just seize the sparsely populated half of Russia to its North. Right now China with its tens-of-millions-strong army could walk right up there and take it and there's not much Moscow could do about it.

This scenario is not "the end of the world." The richer nations actually might not fare that bad. Some could even benefit. The poorer nations and their inhabitants could suffer mightily. It could be an unprecedented humanitarian disaster.

I'm not advocating this by any stretch. Don't shoot the messenger. This is the horrible Realpolitik outcome that we'll get if we choose defection over cooperation in a game theoretic sense.

Personally if this scenario unfolded I would advocate unification of the United States and Canada (to whatever extent is politically possible) and opening our borders to anyone without a provable criminal record. Let all those migrants head all the way up to the far North, settle it, and establish farms and industry. Brain drain from places like Nazi Germany, China, the USSR, etc. created the last American century, so maybe it could happen again. In any case the economic growth we would get from this would help us afford to do things like build the great New York and Boston sea walls, the system of locks and pumps to save much of Los Angeles, and New Miami.

We're unlikely to do that though. That's not how most people think in a scarcity or threat scenario.

Not sure why you're being downvoted. This is actual pretty decent speculation(minus the conspiracy tinge).

Global warming is absolutely going to kick off a period of high geopolitical instability. Geopolitical in the classic sense of the geography. The borders of our countries, populations, alliances, and economic base are all tightly coupled to the natural resources of each country. Those natural resources are about to change rapidly. Instability in a single country (Syria) created a European refugee crisis. Every low latitude country is about to experience a simultaneous refugee crisis.

Our political and business leaders are not idiots, no matter how often we portray them that way. They have the best data. They need to in order to make decisions about how to remain in power or stay profitable. They do know what's coming. For them, this was never about the coral and the birds. Some have clearly concluded that there's nothing to be done but make hay while the sun shines.

Thanks, but what "conspiracy tinge?" Planning for likely future conflict scenarios is what governments and militaries do. They have entire departments full of people who do it full time. It's not at all unreasonable to think they've looked at climate change and the possible outcomes and that powerful factions within government (and elsewhere) may have come to conclusions like what I wrote.

You lead with the idea that people in power have made a secret decision to do away with democracy and deploy totalitarianism. This is by definition a conspiracy. The rest of what you said, plus what you just said about departments of people already looking at this I find quite realistic.

Someone else just posted this 10 year old video on the geopolitics of climate change. I wanted to make sure you saw it.


While I'd say it's more of a tacit agreement than a 'here's the plan which we've each signed our names to' type conspiracy, it seems entirely reasonable to conclude that those with power and resources fully intend to conserve it - indeed, I'd argue that this is what political conservatives are motivated by these days, as opposed to legacies or institutions. In past times of apparent infinite possibility it was reasonable to believe the notion of endless trans-generational growth that justified what Plato called the 'noble lie', but when there's a sense that the ship is sinking the rich have no compunction about pushing others out of the lifeboats because that's what they're used to doing.

Russia has a substantially higher population than you are implying.

Also, you give those in power far too much credit. If they had actually concluded the situation was hopeless, we would be seeing large geoengineering investments right now

I thought the bit about Russia was insightful. East of the Urals, Russia is very sparsely populated. Take a look at this border region between Russia and China to see just how underutilized Eastern Russia is for farming, especially once the growing season increases. The light area within the Chinese border is all intensely cultivated land. The darker area in Russia is wilderness.


Re: Russia's population: it's aging, and relative to China? China could field an army larger than the entire population of Russia if they were sufficiently motivated.

Are there any geoengineering projects that would really work? What if we are on the precipice of a methane-driven feedback loop and military/intelligence secretly knows this?

In any case perhaps that's not how they think. The powerful nations of the world are still largely dominated by their militaries and military-type thinking, which leads people to think in terms of defense and strategic conflict not neutral engineering or cooperative approaches.

I found https://projectvesta.org/ interesting.

I am personally not totally convinced because the quantity of olivine that should be moved is greater that the oil we are currently moving annually, but still it looks slightly better than SO2 because there is no ocean acidification, from my layman perspective.

>Are there any geoengineering projects that would really work?

For cooling earth dispersing sulfate particles in the upper atmosphere is generally believed to be economically and technologically viable [1]. For more predictable and controllable results we can deploy sun shades made of thin foil into orbit.

Alternatively we can develop the tech to be self sufficient in reasonable luxury on Mars or the Moon. Great for anyone with enough money to go there, and for the slightly less wealthy the tech will be applicable to make your mansion on earth more comfortable

I'll just mention how all three of those plans would benefit from cheap access to space. So if I had a few million from selling my start up and I was worrying about climate change I might start a rocket company. Or maybe produce electric cars to help turn this ship around instead. Maybe both.


> that's not how they think

I think this is the answer. I don't think the situation is as out of control as everyone is led to believe. It's just not being handled as everyone would believe. Imagine if it was possible to geoengineer our way out of climate change? Think about the powerful implications that would create in terms of ability to affect others climate situation around the world and what that means to those currently in power.

China's population is also aging.

Evidence suggests that solar geoengineering with SO2 would work.

Occam's razor I'm more likely to believe in just incompetence than a cabal of elites who know that geoengineering won't work without having conducted any real experiments


>>A side effect of Beijing’s investment – an influx of Chinese migrants – is often perceived by locals as an expression of China’s de facto territorial expansion.

The article goes on to say that the scale of the migration is not actually that large, but it's an interesting tidbit.

Could be more of a foothold like America's hundreds of overseas military bases.

What time-frame are you basing your premise on? In the next decades up to half a century it is very unlikely for the geopolitical situation to change much, especially their geography. Granted, there will be coastal changes worldwide. In the next few centuries though things will naturally change, empires do rise and fall and it is quite hard to speculate that far. Who knows, maybe China or US or Russia may not even exist then in the shape and form they are now.

There was just a projection that we could see a 7C global temperature increase in the next 80 years. Sea level rise is just one factor, and is probably the minor factor in comparison to changes in arable land, fresh water resources, and overall farming productivity that 7C will represent. There will be big losers and big winners in the next few decades if these projections hold true.

I've been thinking along very similar lines. This just makes more sense than the hopelessly optimistic scenarios of 'everyone giving up meat, adopting clean tech, getting along and sharing resources while we expand into space'. Ideally, this is what we want but anyone who has real-world experience dealing with people from all walks of life AND some respect for physics knows this is a LOT harder than it looks.

I believe WWIII is already happening, it's just not a typical war fought with soldiers. It's a battle of memes (unit of culture, much deeper than reddit memes) proliferated through media to divide, distract, delude the masses. Those in power intend to keep their power and are perfectly aware of the situation unfolding around the globe. They are making moves accordingly, the media doesn't know the long-con so they chalk it all up to mental illness and corruption. If they are all sociopathic, why would they reveal their plans to society? It would go against their deepest instinct for self-preservation.

Yes, the world's poorest regions will be devastated the most and there will be millions of migrants TRYING to move to America more than any other nation. By then, there will be many 'moats' in place to protect the American people. China is already moving people and capital into key regions around the globe (Suriname, next to Brazil) to capitalize on the situation as it unfolds. India will be hit particularly hard because of the amount of people in their country.

The global elite already have 'escape plans' like private islands and top-floor penthouses with guards in the lobby. Some of them care about what happens to the 'commonfolk', some of them don't. That's just the way it is.

The way to stay sane in all this is start with yourself, do what you can to be skillful and of service, build a life connected to nature, live off the land as much as possible, work remotely if possible, know how to live without tech if possible. This is all practical to me, I don't know how else to plan for 'retirement' other than this.

It's WWIV and it may have started on 9/11/01, which I have started wondering might have been a proxy attack. Don't know but it seems possible. WWIII was the cold war with all its proxy battles.

Full scale hot wars between major powers have been too Pyrrhic a scenario even for the winner since the bomb, so now they are a mix of propaganda, espionage, proxies, terrorism, and economic warfare. The meme stuff you mention is just newer propaganda techniques. Terror is really another propaganda technique.

As others have noted in my OP I perhaps made it sound too conspiracy-ish and organized. There is surely a bit of that but it's mostly people behaving in a short sighted, selfish, and reactive way.

I don't think tech will collapse. I think as nature collapses we may grow more reliant on it. Space is on the table too. It's another place to go, and very strategically powerful.

This future looks a ton like cyberpunk. The prophecies of William Gibson continue to unfold.

It sucks in that there were and are much better options, but collectively I am not convinced humans are intelligent or conscious enough to override the brain stem yet and choose them.

Oh well time to go fry up some krill wafers and jack back into the matrix.

"We" may not be waiting at all, the readers of HN and other tech-centric websites. Many people here may be improving their personal behaviors, but that is never going to be enough.

What WE need to do is VOTE, first off, and second, realize that politicians and corporate entities are those with the power to truly shift our behavior as an economy. Until politicians and corporations make huge moves, we'll be stuck waiting and making minor tweaks to our relatively inconsequential individual carbon footprints.

Automated market movements take place in milliseconds and those in developed countries mostly enjoy access to more or less instantaneous communication. The idea that the best response to political problems is to patiently vote every 2 years and expect that to have more of an impact that actions taken on shorter timescales is absurd.

Voting is nice in theory but in practice is extremely amendable to corruption. 18th century technology isn't cutting it in the 21st century. In a rational world our legal code would be editable like Wikipedia built on top of blockchain. If you look at representative government as an information system it's screamingly obvious that it no longer functions properly and is ripe for abuse.

That’s very high and noble but look at France and les Gilets jaunes. Even voting in people willing to bite the bullet and pull the trigger on much needed actions is not enough.

And that’s a shame because the general consensus is that in terms of effectiveness (i.e. not accounting for economic fallout), simply directly taxing CO2 emissions at “only” $60-100 per metric ton would work instant miracles.

Yeah, you're right. Even if we do vote, it's likely we will fail. Even if we ignore the US senate as a major, broken obstacle to climate legislation...will any said legislation actually be in time? will it be enforced? will it not be challenged by courts?

Vote anyways, it's our duty to at least do that.

Collapse in insect populations is probably not global warming, or methane release, imo. New pesticide use, yes, e.g. the nicitinoids and loss of habitat. Bird population decline is expected consequence of decline in insect population, but could be other pollutants. There could be changes in fertility too. Plastics? I dunno.

Act how?

I'm being pragmatica here. How and to what end is this statement and the aggregation of headlines on hacker news hoping to persuade the hn reader? Donate all money to causes? Starve ourselves to death? Go retreat from our lives to invest in reforestation efforts, managing beehives, and growing pesticide free sustenance farms while microcurating our own little corner of the Earth?

Or is it simply to strike undirected alarmism and fear in hopes it contributes to some vagie movement to improve the earth?

Can you be more constructive in your feedback, please?

To anyone reading who wants to know what they can personally do--in rough order of decreasing impact:

https://citizensclimatelobby.org/ is doing really good work. They focus on a very non-adversarial approach, and are changing the minds of a lot of congresspeople about vital climate legislation. It's a very effective approach. Joining up with your local chapter and volunteering is a great way to spend your time and energy, if you have it.

A small thing anyone can do is sign up for https://projectgrandcanyon.com/ and call their congressperson once a month.

If you are willing to make a personal change, learn about veganism. You don't have to go completely vegan. It's great if you can, but if it's too scary, start with Meatless Monday and go from there. Rather than thinking about how to reduce meat, think about how to fill your diet with more meat-free options. Learn to make some tasty, filling vegetarian or vegan pastas, curries, and other recipes. Eat more starchy foods, whole grains, and beans.

If you can, and it suits you, move to a dense, walkable area of the city. This isn't possible or desirable for everyone, obviously.

The whole vegan thing was put into perspective for me when I learned that one intercontinental flight (roundtrip) a year has roughly the same CO2 footprint as going from vegan to "normal" meat consumption.

I'm still trying to be conscious about meat consumption (and will gladly adopt lab-grown meat) but that impact pales in comparison to avoiding plane trips.

The "something" to be done is very simple:

1) End fossil fuel subsidies

2) Apply or increase taxes on emissions

3) Invest the money from 1 and 2 heavily in nuclear, renewables and CO2 capture and storage for industries that can't just switch to clean electricity, negative emissions and "mild geoengineering" solutions.

Unfortunately, this is bad news for lots of existing multinational companies, and for lots of rich people, who lobby politicians hard to avoid this.

Also for jobs. A big issue in my country is the vocal subpopulation employed in coal mining, and the larger population believing that our coal industry is somehow nationally strategic; both of which will vote against anyone with any sensible climate strategy. I took a look the programs of our parties during last EU MEP elections, and sound treatment of climate issue is essentially inversely correlated with popularity of the party.

I like how the answers to your very legitimate question are either:

1) make a decision as a leader of a country / major player in the global economy

2) do small stuff that are very hard to quantify in effectiveness (eg call legislative representative, or go vegan)

3) dramatically change lifestyle

I fail to see how any of those are realistic. Especially 3 has never been shown to be implemented willingly by people, given that if not coordinated, will result in social isolation.

Make big changes now, or be forced to make them later. Stop supporting the meat industry. Take public transit or bicycle if possible. Avoid flying, driving by yourself. Avoid excessive consumption of disposable products.

There is no sustainable future where we get to keep our current lifestyles.

In addition to doing all those things on a personal level, each of them has a societal-level adjustment to pair with it:

* Stop supporting meat -- transfer those subsidies to carbon-friendlier foods and farming

* Make public transit free and much more widespread, fund it with taxes on pollution externalities from private transport

Transfer subsidies on fossil fuel power (and tax them) to wind and solar projects, too.

Doing this at a societal level would create a new set of winners and losers in the profit-making sense, of course; those would-be losers are the ones fighting these sorts of changes.

We are still debating if we should listen to science /s

No, we're debating whether we should listen to the charlatans that present us our science. Every time I read a pop-sci article and then go check the original research paper I find out that the pop-sci journalist completely misrepresented the research they are writing about, usually due to a mix of trying to get more clicks and Hanlon's Razor (incompetence).

Most people don't have the skills to be able to listen to science. They don't know how to read and interpret and abstract and then dig in further and read an entire scholarly peer-reviewed paper. That's just part of the problem. The other part is that most people are completely innumerate.

Based on what I’ve read from old library archives, quality changed for popular science type magazines after the 1950s. Everything becomes closer to being ads, or just glosses over the basic details.

I doubt it is intentional, the journalists now aren’t capable of understanding, but they know how to write things in a way to get as many clicks.

> No, we're debating whether we should listen to the charlatans that present us our science.

I'm sure some do, but considering the huge number of deniers and their effect on government policy humanity's biggest issue is not understanding the facts (established by science) of climate change.

We should act on the insect apocalypse and do things like ban neonicinoids, etc. But connecting this to climate change is an extreme stretch considering species decline has been happening for a long time before the industrial revolution. It’s simply not attributable to CO2 and greenhouse gasses

Thinking that changing the climate to which animals are specifically adapted to and on which they exclusively sustain themselves is likely a major contributing cause to their death is not really "stretching." It may not be the exclusive cause or a cause at all but its hardly anything but a prime suspect.

The connection is the disrespectful, undignified, instrumental way that humans treat everything else, animate and not, and with little concern about how their own fortunes are unalterably stitched into the life web they are busily tearing apart.

Yes, you’re right that is the connection.

What do you propose people do?

start using nuclear, solar, and wind power asap and quit burning fossil fuels asap and start having only 1 or 0 children for a while.

>start having only 1 or 0 children for a while.

Almost all developed nations already have birth rates below the replacement level. The only way our populations are not falling is through migration from less developed countries.

How can I, as a citizen, decide to use eg solar power? If my power provider burns coal, how can I affect that?

That depends on your country. Here you can choose your provider, for example, or put your own grid-connected solar panels up.

So you propose specific solutions that should apply to everyone. BZZZZT. Wrong.

The correct answer was a carbon tax.

eat less beef, red meat in general. no need to give up anything. just reduce it a bit.

By Henry’s gas law. The amount of gas dissolved or released depends on the temperature of the fluid. This is why for example you need to chill sodas to carbonate it during manufacturing.

Thus could it be that dissolved methane is being released from ocean and lakes as earth is heating? The gas law would imply that. As the liquid that contains methane heats the dissolved methane will be released to the atmosphere.

Same gas law Henry’s law is also active during scuba diving nitrogen absorption. Henrys gas law.


Methane example of Henry’s law for dissolved methane in a well https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/using-henrys-law-for-d...

The only way forward, the only chance we have is to invent technology to trap and sequester green houses gases from the upper atmosphere.

Reducing human greenhouse gas output won’t happen fast enough to fix things, and I’m not sure that it’s possible to capture and trap existing green house gases, but it’s the only chance we have, because it’s the only way to stop the positive feedback loops that are currently running, warming oceans, melting glaciers, and thawing permafrost. We need to reverse warming, not slow it down.

The current approach of “adding less” is absurd. If you need 2,500 calories to maintain your weight, and you are eating 25,000 calories you will get fat fast. Reducing calorie intake to 15,000 won’t let you lose weight, you’ll just get fatter slower.

Our current approach to climate change is to get fatter slower, we need to lose weight.

We need the capacity to capture and sequester per year, 10% more green house gases than we produce per year. Because we need to reduce the total amount of green house gases in the upper atmosphere.

I agree that we'll probably need capture, but just want to inject a concern I have with seeing capture as salvation:

Any capture/sequestration tech that produces marketable byproducts may have a big leg up on any tech that has to depend on large purely-altruistic investments.

Technology tends to get more efficient with time/investment/scale.

If any capture/sequestration processes achieve profitability (maybe even just marginal profitability after an initial capital investment), it may not be straightforward to turn them back off .

All scenarious in the latest IPPC report (SR15 - Global Warming of 1.5 ºC) require carbon sequestration, so it's really not optional anymore if we want to stay below 1.5°C warming.


We need both.

1. Stop doing it

2. Reverse it.

We can't reverse the amount of carbon without stopping our emissions. And it is important that we don't _allow_ people to hand wave one away for the other. We need at least both, we also need to track mitigations in helping the environment (trees, animals, rivers) to operate in these new regimes.

We need both, in so far that slowing the warming buys us time to invent new technologies, and move economies towards negative emissions without breaking it or (if I'm to believe api's speculations elsewhere in the thread[0], and I am willing to) starting World War Three.


[0] - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21026975

Do you know if there are any current technologies to trap and sequester green house gases ?

One technology is called “TREES”, actually scratch that a more advanced version is called “RAINFOREST” (that one sequesters far more CO2 per square meter than TREES alone). Unfortunately people have cut down a significant portion of both TREES and RAINFOREST because they are economically incentivized to do so.

Mature forests are at best net carbon neutral, and at worst net carbon emitters. Comparing our current emissions with amount sequestered per hectare of forest immediately gives that we don’t have nearly enough suitable unused land to plant new forests to make up for our current emissions. The only viable way to use forests to sequester carbon is to cut down immense numbers of trees and bury them underground. I don’t see anyone going to seriously propose this.

Actually, I wonder if that is true.


I'm sure tree-farmers would sale their trees to governments interested in sequestering carbon. Probably could just dump them in the oceanic trenches...

Clearly, if government is going to buy the lumber at market prices, the owners of the forests won’t complain or ask the purpose. However, the rest of us who would pay for the scheme would see the idea of burying the trees in order to offset the carbon we keep digging up as quite ridiculous.

If there were no alternatives to fossil fuels it wouldn't be ridiculous. Its just an offset (though, honestly, I suspect not an optimal one--carbon is not the only environmental concern we have, and mono-cultured tree farms are probably not a solution to those.. But we do have alternatives. In fact, I think that fossil fuels are preciously energy dense, that they should be kept in reserve for when truly needed. Let renewables be the solution for every-day needs.

JFYI this "tree" technology of which you speak, can only be deployed at the earth's surface. AFAICT, OP was asking about upper atmosphere, which doesn't mix much with the lower atmosphere. Perhaps trees plus some way to mix the atmosphere?

Also, I believe we were talking about methane - and while these nifty "tree" things appear to sequester CO2, I believe these produce some amount of methane. Again, perhaps pair Trees(tm) with something to address the methane? For example, I've heard about "fire" but unsure if it can be deployed in the upper atmosphere, requires unrealistic concentrations of methane, or whether its outputs and side effects are acceptable.


The thing missing from upper atmosphere that destroys methane is water. Unfortunately, it's a greenhouse gas too, and relatively long-lived there too.

It's very likely best to focus in CO2 and let CH4 follow its short lived natural course.

Along with all the other carbon sinks we've drained, developed or heated to start emitting - peat bogs, wetlands, mangroves, permafrost etc.

one way to effect that directly is to eat less beef, I wonder how many are willing to make that sacrifice?

Besides planting trees as others have mentioned, there's Project Vesta [1], iron fertilization [2], and a few smaller-scale projects aiming to convert greenhouse gases back into liquids that could be stored, although most of the pitches promote them for being reused as fuel, ex. [3].

[1] https://projectvesta.org/

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_fertilization

[3] https://carbonengineering.com/

Trees mostly. Algae has huge potential due to high growth rates. Mechanical or chemical sequestration is unlikely to do anything.

Some form of sequestration is necessary, because if you consider climate as a sinking ship, trees and algae are just sponges. They sequester some carbon for a while, and then release when decaying or burning. So fighting climate change with trees needs to involve cutting them down and storing them somewhere where they won't decay for thousands of years.

As far as I know, the most cost-effective method is very low tech--just find a good area and plant a variety of native trees.

The biggest problem I see is that you now have to protect those trees for basically forever. Fires will only become more problematic, and the push for more usable land as well. Also, trees take decades to grow, which we don't have.

Better than nothing yes, but not enough.

Geopolitics in a Hotter World – UBC Talk Transcribed (Sept. 2010) https://spaswell.wordpress.com/2016/11/18/dr-gwynne-dyer-geo...

Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mc_4Z1oiXhY

Long, good, hard to summarize but I'll try: Things are worse than publicly talked about; there are a few options (geo-engineering). "People always raid before they starve."

- - - -

We have the solutions already.

Cut-n-paste from a comment yesterday, apologies if you've seen it already, I think it's worth it:

For practical advice on what to do I recommend Toby Hemenway's videos in re: Permaculture


Especially "How Permaculture Can Save Humanity and the Planet – But Not Civilization" and the sequel "Redesigning Civilization with Permaculture".

Permaculture is a school of applied ecology (the word itself is a portmanteau of PERMAnent agriCULTURE) that has adherents and practitioners world-wide. It's not the only form of regenerative agriculture either.

See also https://www.greenwave.org/our-work Oceanic 3D farms! And now they are building reefs?

Damn, in the first 5 minutes of Dyer's talk there's the best argument for Brexit that I've ever seen.

A somewhat flippant comment, but I'm involved tangentially with the "cyberpunk" aesthetic; often, people involved ask "where is our cyberpunk?"

All I can tell them is "Yes, we got our cyberpunk - unfortunately, we didn't get the Diamond Age, or even Neuromancer - we instead got David Brin's Earth..."

As far as why methane levels are rising so fast - I suspect it has to do with the thawing of arctic permafrost (ever seen videos of "bogs" in Russia and Siberia that move like a waterbed?), and possibly also methane hydrates at shallower depths releasing their gases because of ocean warming (and maybe other factors).

Of course - this is all speculation and I am far from being the person to answer this in any true manner. But if I had to make my guess - that's the most likely reason.

As far as if we can stop it? Well - I think we're far too late to do anything. We probably should've started back in the 1970s or earlier (that would be my best guess) - and people back then were talking about this kind of thing.

But nobody ever listens to the geeks and eggheads; I mean, what the hell do those dorks know? They only dedicate their lives and brains to such things, and we all know they can't party, right?

So - enjoy what we have left, because we're only seeing the start of massive die-offs that will eventually get to us. Don't worry about the Earth though - it will be fine.

Y'know, it's not binary, the divide is not climate change/no climate change. So maybe it is too late to stop everything completely, but it is really really not too late to stop it from becoming far far worse.

Look at this plot:


You can see where we are and what else is possible if we keep going. (Let's hope we don't trigger feedback effects which are not included in the plot though.)

Here are possible paths forward to stay below 1.5°C:


And yes, they are hella optimistic, but they are (physically) possible. Let's at least give our best and fight!

(Details and plot captions in the full IPCC report: https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/)

Frankly I am surprised this isn't in the article at all, as it was what I immediately thought of on reading about methane release and permafrost.

Scary stuff

I thought it was perfectly well understood. Hundreds to thousands of megatons of methane is trapped in permafrost. When the warmest point of the year melts the now ill-named permafrost, methane gets released.

There's more than one cause. A large chunk of the increased methane emissions come from China industralising in a particularly dirty, coal-burning way and releasing loads of methane in the process: https://phys.org/news/2019-01-china-methane-emissions.html

That's one source. The article mentions others. People are trying to figure out which sources are most significant at the moment.

It's a vicious cycle. Methane levels increase to dangerous levels, which causes researchers to soil their pants, which releases more methane into the atmosphere.

(Disclaimer I believe in climate change with all my heart)

If methane levels are higher than we thought wouldn’t that make our climate models wrong? Ie less of a heating effect from co2?

That would be true if methane had been higher than we thought all along. That's not the case, since it's not hard to measure the methane level.

What's happening is that the methane level is increasing faster than people expected. It could be from permafrost melting, or leaks from natural gas infrastructure, or various other things.

Which in turn means our models are probably underestimating heating going forward, since the total GHG will be higher in the future than predicted.

It would mean that a lower fraction of the heating effect we're observing is from CO2. However, if we've correctly estimated the impact of CO2, then that just means that there will be more absolute heating than we had otherwise predicted.

We’re both on the same side and I don’t want to seem like arguing within the team. But those two sentences seem to be contradictory?

They aren't contradictory sentences. Methane is increasing faster than we expected it to. So, going forward, a higher % of warming will be due to methane than we expected before our recent methane measurements. This likely means more warming, as methane (CH4) is a much more potent warmer than CO2.

I appreciate your civility, but it’s mildly disturbing hearing climate change advocacy being referred to as a team. I understand what you mean, but there shouldn’t be teams so much as many independent inquirers who come to the same conclusions

This is a confusing comment and not particularly responsive.

My statement is intended to be an isomorph of https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21026594 with a different emphasis. I'm sorry you found it confusing, but it is absolutely responsive, and I resent your accusation that it isn't. If you want to be helpful in the future, you could explain what about it you find confusing, and maybe the person you're responding to could clarify whatever point was previously unclear.

Methane is increasing now precipitously compared to the last couple of decades. We hit an inflection point apparently in the last couple of years.

Any model is going to have some things that are exogenous and some that are endogenous. Climate models usually don't try to predict how much carbon people are going to emit but simply say what the response of the climate is to our emissions under various scenarios. So if this methane is man-made they shouldn't be expected to predict it.

But also climate modeling is very hard. Nate Silver had a whole chapter on what climate scientists are up against in his book, The Signal and the Noise. They have to make due with very long feedback cycles and noisy data. We've known since Svante Arrhenius's work in 1895 that more carbon in the atmosphere will tend to lead to warmer temperatures. Since then we've developed complicated models trying to relate air temperature to sea temperature to water vapor in the atmosphere to plant growth and so on. But this is a very hard task. We know that complicated interactions are going on beyond the simple CO2->temperature model because of things like the weird warming pause in the 2000s before temperature roared back up to trend-lines. But so far we haven't been particularly successful at predicting deviations from the simple model.

This is scary because while we lucked into some climate buffering in the 2000s there's also the possibility of positive feedback loops that might get set off. Scientists have several in mind that might exist, they're trying to predict how much warming might set them off, but they really can't be sure when and/or if they might trigger.

One known possible positive feedback loop is methane release from the arctic. This is something of a known unknown, in that we know its possible but know that we don't have very good estimates of when it'll release and how much. Hence the people in the arctic. Hence people like the scientists in the article going up there trying to lessen the scope of the unknown. Given that methane levels are increasing we know something bad is happening. It might just be a burp before things settle again with most arctic methane staying locked away until global temperatures hit 4C over baseline or something. Or it might be about to get Very Bad right now. More research is required.

Thankfully methane only has a half life in the atmosphere before turning into CO2 and water of something like a dozen years so there might be hope of riding out a methane release, and slow releases can be managed. It's not CO2 which also has an a half-life in the air and oceans dues to rock weathering, but that half life is so long it's beyond any planning horizon we might have unless we start geoengineering to speed it up.

It’s a runaway reaction with a positive feedback loop feeding into itself. Current scientific opinion is that within a certain range, increases in temperature caused by CO2 emissions can trigger a negative feedback loop but beyond a certain horizon (which we passed long ago) and up to the point of a doomsday scenario, the warmer it gets the more it causes secondary results that directly contribute to accelerating CO2 and methane emissions. Melting of permafrost being a chief source of the latter, in this case.

there's a climate lag. also, methane isn't higher than we thought, it's just higher than we'd expect given what we know about energy production, so there's some hidden source somewhere.

>Disclaimer I believe in climate change with all my heart

Ridiculous that the subject has become so dogmatic that one must prostrate oneself before stating anything even potentially critical

The biggest problem I have is that we're not going to have a proper dystopian collapse of civilization/raider/zombie/fight-for-resource type of thing. Most likely just a cvasi-police-state-corporate-run boring dystopia (which we already kind of have) managing and partitioning remaining resources/habitable locations.

We’ve mainly been focused on carbon sequestration directly aimed at capturing atmospheric CO2, but ton-for-ton, methane isn’t significantly worse for climate change. I’m not aware of any ongoing (research, even) efforts for sequestering methane, does anyone know?

(As opposed to research into reductions which is also An extremely worthy cause (better to prevent 1 ton of methane than to sequester anywhere from 20 to 80 tons of CO2), although it seems no one is interested in any follow through. We’ve pretty much definitively identified a fairly low cost path forward to significantly reduce worldwide methane outputs related to food production by simply tweaking bovine diets, but it seems no one cares to actually implement it.)

From what I can tell, methane has an atmospheric PPM of ~2 (compared to 400++ for CO2). The lower concentration, and the fact that methane generation is very diffuse presumably makes sequestration Hard.

Yes, when measured at surface levels, but I believe that, unlike CO2, methane is extremely concentrated within a region of the stratosphere (being significantly lighter than CO2 and O2); it’s not hard to imagine strategically placed sequestration “facilities” being able to get to it better. But I’m on my phone and it’s hard to find out what the max ppm at the elevations it is most concentrated at are.


Article is more like a movie script then sharing facts and numbers. I believe in climate change but this kind of article not helping with anything.

Maybe we should support gas flaring, rather than opposing it. Flaring turns methane into CO2 + water vapor, which are less potent greenhouse gases.

Three guesses, Russia, China, or US oild fields.

great to see female scientists highlighted

Uh, melting permafrost?

There is no mystery.

Arctic sea floor

Canadian permafrost

Siberian permafrost

The Arctic sea floor is releasing Methane Clathrates, i.e. the so-called Methane Clathrates Gun is firing. As for the two instances of "permafrost", both are melting en mass and that is leading to organic matter that has been frozen and accumulating for millenia to now be decomposed by bacteria, leading to massive methane releases.

Methane is 30-times for damaging than CO2.

what if i don’t care? many of these worries are alarmist. from the IPCC report it seems like some coral will die and the temperature will raise a few degrees. which is bad, sure, but not apocalyptic. i doubt my children’s life will change unless i buy ocean front property and refuse to move for 100 years

I think you might lack some imagination on how things could go bad quickly. (but maybe I am on the paranoid side of things)

Last week, there were reports on water shortage in India because too much ground water is used. At the same time, Himalayan glaciers are melting, so all in all, at some point less water flowing. Global warming will increase droughts and torrential rains (that could further damage crops).

Do you think that 1 billion people will sit tight until they die from thirst or starvation ?

If there is no mass migration, there is also a real danger of war. And India is a nuclear power, as are Pakistan and China. So it could get ugly very fast with repercussions on the whole world, even if your part of the world still feels safe.

A 100 million people in the developing world are probably going to die as a result, that number ticks higher ever year as the impact becomes more severe.

Climates changing means ecosystems are going to change. Food stuffs will disappear, lowering food diversity. Natural ecosystems will disappear lowering natural beauty. Rising sea levels and failing water cycles will cause cities to migrate. You aren't wrong that your children will probably not be very affected in a life and death sort of way, but they will lack the quality of life you do and many other people's children will die.

What if you live in an area with no AC because for hundreds of years the weather has been consistent enough to not need it?

Or what if you start experiencing massive wildfires because the seasons get dryer and dryer?

How about if you care about eating Salmon or any number of seafood dying off as a result of a warming ocean and massive overfishing?

it’s not like this happens overnight. you can buy an AC sometimes in the next 100 years hopefully

and sure salmon thing is bad but doesn’t mean the world is ending in 12 years. which is what the activists pretend. i just want a real conversation about solutions but neither side is reasonable

If you want a real conversation, you don't start off with your original comment. The original comment was mocking the scale of the changes we face in a completely un-informed way.

So, you might want to consider what kind of discussion you really want?

very few people are pretending the world is ending in 12 years. However, many people are talking about the fact that the world as we know it (fish stocks, stability of weather patterns for growing crops, intensity of storms, lack of snowmelt to irrigate crops in summer, and many many more) will change significantly. That includes you.

If you live in the US, you are suffering the political side effects of climate change indirectly as thousands of central American coffee farmers leave their lands and look to the north for opportunity. If you live in Europe, you are suffering the political side effects of increasing instability and resource scarcity in north and east africa, the levant and other locales.

Picture that but with millions more people; your rich country will have to divert more and more resources to either building walls or integrating the poor, all while food prices increase, natural resources are depleted, etc.

If you think living in the Bay Area, London, NY, or anywhere like that is going to insulate you from the consequences, you are really sadly mistaken.

I live in a wealthy city in Australia; we face flooding which is driving up property and insurance costs, fire which is wiping out farming land and causing air quality issues, while depleting fish stocks increase the cost of other food sources. Storm intensity is also on the rise which is causing more flooding and damaging arable land.

We can handle it, but it's more and more a cost and deadweight effect on our lives.

I urge you to isolate "what you want to happen" from "what will actually happen given the science being presented".

You're life is already changing.

Billions of dollars in tax payer relief efforts need to be deployed to clean up the devastation caused by an increasing number of extreme weather events due to climate change.

Crop yields in the US have been on the decline since 2012. Numerous crop failures across the world have accelerated the pace of civil strife all over the world as famines become more severe and common. The result of this strife has led to mass migrations from affected areas and this has directly influenced US policies.

You are not immune, regardless of whether you continue pretending these events are not the result of climate change. You may have the luxury of insulating yourself from the near-term implications, but the world cares nothing of your ignorance and will eventually punish you all the same.

It will be a death of a thousand cuts. Food gets more expensive, perhaps items disappear from grocery shelves more often. Gas and electricity shortages happen occasionally. Migration happens as people can't rebuild because insurance won't cover the repeated damage to their housing. Year by year life will get a little more miserable for most people.

> an increasing number of extreme weather events due to climate change

This is not correct; the number of extreme weather events is not increasing. The damage they do is increasing, but that's because the human population in areas exposed to such events, and the value of the property build in such areas, is increasing.

"New data confirm increased frequency of extreme weather events, European national science academies urge further action on climate change adaptation"


No link to a peer-reviewed paper, let alone any explanation of where this "new data" came from or why we should consider it reliable.

It's all in the PDF they helpfully link at the very top of the page, along with references. They also link the 2013 report that it is an update to.

The PDF does not explain where the data comes from or how it was counted. And it explicitly says that the data is not peer-reviewed. At least it does give references at the end.

Also, Fig. 1 in the PDF shows "geophysical events"--earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions--rising in frequency as well. By the argument given, that means we humans are causing more earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions by putting more CO2 into the air. Which immediately makes me read this PDF as spin, not substance.

What about their children and their children's children and ... (you get the idea)

It s a bit myopic no?

1. you really don’t think in 100 years we’ll have better technology? look where we were 100 years ago.

2. once again it seems like they’ll just adapt as humans always have.

my point is this apocalyptic behavior by activists is counter productive and offputting. it means we can’t have a reasonable discussion about solutions and trade offs because “the world is ending in 12 years”. this led to me just giving up because we can’t have conversation

Well.. for both your points here there are no guarantees. Progress isn't linear and just because we can adapt doesn't mean we will.

What is known is that our entire eco-system is failing to adapt fast enough to keep up with the rate of change - what makes you think we can beat it?

Its disappointingly reductive to throw the towel in and, really, that point of view is no better than 'the world is ending in 12 years'

To deal with a problem you must first acknowledge that it exists - any action is clearly going to beat sticking ones head in the sand.

> any action is clearly going to beat sticking ones head in the sand

Not if the action makes things worse than they would have been if you'd done nothing. And given our very poor understanding of how the climate and ecosystems work, any action we take that is not an obvious benefit (like "bring more people out of poverty" or "make our infrastructure more robust", both of which are things we certainly should be doing) is much more likely to make things worse than to make things better.

Reduce / Recycle / Reuse

Tell me which of those is going to make the situation worse?

Reduce makes it harder for people to come out of poverty.

Recycle costs energy.

Reuse should be ok, as long as whatever it is is in fact reusable.

But these three hardly cover all possible actions.

That's putting the cart before the horse. If we're here in 100 years then of course we'll have solved the problem... but we're not going to here in 100 years if we just decided it'd be solved in 100 years.

100 companies account for over 70% of emissions. As a single citizen there's not a lot you can do other than ride the plane into the mountain.

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