The best estimates say that global warming will lower per capita GDP by somewhere between 5-20% by 2100. That's a tragedy, because in aggregate it represents a huge amount of unnecessarily lost wealth. But a 5-20% in GDP per capita does not mean that we'll be dying in the streets.
Let's be very conservative and assume global GDP per capita grows at 2% per year. In the baseline scenario, the median world citizen would still be 390% richer than the average person today. Applying the worst global warming impact (20% of GDP), the median person would still be 290% richer than the average person today.
Unmitigated global warming will make the people of the future substantially poorer. But not nearly by enough to cancel out the effect of continuous economic growth and technological development. It's almost certainly the case that the people of 2100 will enjoy higher living standards than the present.
I think what GP presented is too mild. What I personally fear is this: increasing migration pressure from the most affected areas and contention for resources starts triggering wars, at which point the global economy collapses, at which point at least half of the world's population dies of starvation. Remember, cities everywhere are running on just-in-time supply chains; they have food and water for a couple of days. It's mostly harmless when one city in a country suffers a catastrophe, because emergency response can be put into place. But if the whole country goes into disarray, or the imports of food suddenly stop, things are going to get very ugly very fast.
There is no economic or historical basis for this. When resources become more scare people begin looking into alternatives or alternate extraction methods.
This is how the iron age came to be. Iron was common to many local areas, but the tin to make bronze had to be imported from far away. It took innovation to develop the necessary techniques for iron smelting which turned out to be a superior material for tools in addition to being extremely common and readily available.
They use to think this way about crude oil. That we would eventually run out or that everybody needs to go to war to protect their strategic assets in the middle east. This turned out to be complete non-sense. Techniques that revolutionized natural gas extraction were adapted to oil extraction following massive oil price fluctuations. Now Texas out produces Saudi Arabia. Europe now produces large amounts of petroleum from Norway.
They used to also think this way about lumber and rubber, both of which are renewable resources. Now the world produces plenty of both with minimal environmental disruption.
The US has plenty of coal and coal is relatively cheap to extract and ship, but there will always be a minimal fixed price to coal-based energy. Renewable energy scales more efficiently and now is cheaper than coal due to wholesale energy production, especially in Texas which now also dominates renewable energy production.
When there is sufficient demand people will find a way well before going to war. War is very expensive.
> That we would eventually run out or that everybody needs to go to war to protect their strategic assets in the middle east. This turned out to be complete non-sense.
The way I see it, few wars for control over oil markets have already happened in the last few decades.
> When there is sufficient demand people will find a way well before going to war. War is very expensive.
I don't think this was ever true in history. In particular, this was a common sentiment before World War I - that nations are too connected economically, that it's in no one's interest to go to war. Didn't stop two world wars from happening in less than 30 years.
Societies have collapsed before, and it's likely to happen again. Climate change looks like an extremely good trigger for such an event. It's unclear whether we would be able to recover, or how long it would take.
All of these various competing problems can be summarized into three categories: economic, defense, and political. By far the least critical of those three is defense. I am saying this as a military office who has studied history. If you are wealthy you can fund a better military and better defensive protections. If you are poor but you are politically united and guided by strong leadership you will still probably figure it out. If your economy or food supply fall apart you likely won't have the political unity necessary to mount a strong defense. Likewise if the people are disenfranchised or selfishly entitled there will be less political will to prop up the economy.
It seems obvious they're talking about food.
I am not sure you're closely looked at hydraulic fracturing. One doesn't simply talk about petroleum production, they talk about the IRR of energy projects. That is a fair proxy for whether it takes more energy to get a hydrocarbon out of the ground than it contains. Yes, they are making more, but early entrants into fracking (Whiting, EQT, Pioneer, et al) have all done very poorly and destroyed a lot of equity value. I think a really good case can be made that fracking is intrinsically a financial phenomenon. Huge upfront capex with assumptions of years of production. The track record of that longer tail production is doing poorly (edit: even with different spacing and refracking) in most geologies. Plus, poor infra outside of the permian means more capex.
Lumber has issues too, which will very much be made worse by even a 2 deg C shift.
There is a reason that the US and most countries have huge farming subsidies. A country that cannot feed itself is collapses in very short order. You see this all over the middle east and northern Africa where almost every riot in the "Arab Spring" was about agricultural and food concerns. As you can see in adjacent countries, people migrate from conflict zones and put further stress on neighbors.
When your life and your childrens' live are on the line, you will respect no human or moral laws to get food. That is what terrifies everyone that sees the climate crisis accelerating and is familiar with the next steps of how it's likely to unfold.
Do you follow news at all?
> a 10% increase in per capita real income is associated with a 1.5% decrease in the crude death rate
It seems reasonable to assume that the inverse is also true.
I mean, when you see how easily we set the world on fire because of some oil or water today, it is not unreasonable to assume that this is going to become even more violent when resources becomes more scarce.
It's a tragedy for reasons MUCH beyond 'unnecessarily lost wealth'. I know you are trying to argue in good faith, but you're flat out wrong in the sense that doomsday despair is EXACTLY what we should all be feeling.
A world depleted of its glaciers, lacking in drinkable water, lacking in animal diversity, lacking in arable land, lacking in coral reefs, coastal cities with all their rich history and culture buried underwater and on, and on, is EXACTLY a hellish nightmare.
Who'd want to live on such a planet? Who'd give a fuck about 290% richer?
None of these will be true though?
not sure about arable land and coastal cities underwater (certainly some will be), but even without those it's looking dire.
I couldn't find a source for "all the glaciers will melt" but it's a pretty safe bet that if Greenland ice is gone in 1000 years, then so are pretty much all worldwide (mountain) glaciers, and the ice caps.
> So how much economic damage will pursuing the IPCC's fast transition to a no-carbon energy system spare us? The report asserts that if no policies aimed specifically at reducing carbon dioxide emissions are adopted, then average global temperature is projected to rise by 3.66°C by 2100, resulting in global GDP loss of 2.6 percent from what it would otherwise have been. Comparatively speaking, in the 2°C and 1.5°C scenarios, global GDP would only be reduced by 0.5 percent or 0.3 percent respectively.
> Concretely, the global GDP of $80 trillion, growing at 3 percent annually, would rise to $903 trillion by 2100. A 2.6 percent reduction means that it would only be $880 trillion by 2100. A 0.3 percent decrease implies a loss of $2.7 trillion resulting in a global GDP of $900 trillion. Note that the IPCC is recommending that the world spend between now and 2035 more than $45 trillion in order to endow $2.7 trillion more in annual income on people living three generations hence. Assuming the worst case loss of 2.6 percent of GDP in world with a population of 10 billion that would mean that they would have to scrape by on an average income of just $88,000 per year (the average global GDP per capita now is $10,500.)
What kind of dangerous demagoguery will people turn to if the world economy gets sucker punched? Sure, people will lose, but what happens if a class of people lose far more than everyone else, and refuse to take it passively?
We don't even know what a world without constant growth looks like.
The biggest thing to fear in such a scenario is other people and their weapons.
You Sir have clearly not been paying attention.
> Let's be very conservative and assume global GDP per capita grows at 2% per year. In the baseline scenario, the median world citizen would still be 390% richer than the average person today. Applying the worst global warming impact (20% of GDP), the median person would still be 290% richer than the average person today.
This is an absolutely stunning claim to make. It assume growth can just continue in perpetuity forever as if no external factors (food shortages, refugee emergencies, climate wars and economic devastation, air pollution, global pandemics, extreme weather events, ocean rise etc) could possibly have any impact on that continued growth.
There's plenty of evidence for an unlivable hellscape, some of it is in your post, you just fail to see it.
> The best estimates say that global warming will lower per capita GDP by somewhere between 5-20% by 2100. That's a tragedy, because in aggregate it represents a huge amount of unnecessarily lost wealth. But a 5-20% in GDP per capita does not mean that we'll be dying in the streets.
A 5-20% drop in global GDP is not going to be a temporary drop, like what we have in a recession. It is going to be a permanent drop in global GDP. Bear in mind that the Great Depression was about a 15% drop in GDP over a few years. Think about how much pain and misery is represented by a drop as big or bigger that is permanent.
Furthermore, it's not going to be 2% year-over-year then suddenly in 2100 it goes backwards. Growth is going to stagnate, and start reversing as the consequences of climate change grow worse.
> Unmitigated global warming will make the people of the future substantially poorer. But not nearly by enough to cancel out the effect of continuous economic growth and technological development. It's almost certainly the case that the people of 2100 will enjoy higher living standards than the present.
I don't think you're grasping the scale and impact of destruction that is possible and indeed, probable if we don't address the problem. Ocean acidification and warming oceans means that coral reefs not only will die, but they will dissolve. Entire ocean ecosystems will collapse because a wide swath of plankton that forms the base of the food chain, will not be able to form their calcium carbonate exoskeletions. Overfishing is already a problem, when fisheries start collapsing, overfishing will finish the job. Today, 2 billion people rely on the sea for their primary source of protein.
Some regions are going to see heat waves that are several degrees above the 2 degrees C average rise. Heatwaves and droughts will drastically reduce crop yields and outright kill crops. Heatwaves can and will kill livestock as well. Disruption of global food supplies and water supplies will create multiple humanitarian crises.
And that's not even getting into the fact that something like 600 million people live in coastal areas around the world. A much hotter climate will not only result in several feet of sea level rise, it will result in much stronger storms and flooding that will destroy trillions of dollars in real estate, not to mention that it will kill people.
Put all of those things together, then think about how hard it's going to be for governments to maintain order. Especially in parts of the world that are already unstable.
Maybe the most important thing to know is that we can make carbon-neutral alcohol fuel, and, integrated into regenerative agriculture ("Permaculture" et. al.) the economics are totally different than large-scale industrial ethanol production.
Think Community-Supported-Agriculture that supplies your gas.
Dave "Farmer Dave" Bloom collected all the necessary info into a book (that was banned from public tv at the time!)
http://alcoholcanbeagas.com/ Get the book, find or start your local fuel co-op!
- - - -
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?
For more inspiration and projects search "Geoff Lawton Greening the Desert"
> In the end power is social. Power comes from people showing up to meetings, people showing up for rallies, people going door-to-door convincing other people to vote for the right person or support the right initiative, people blocking roads and making a fuss.
> And that takes time and money.
If you work in tech you probably have a surplus of both.
When countries have made real progress "toward limiting greenhouse-gas emission" one would not need charts to see it: it would be immediately evident in everyday lifestyles, consumer habits, and energy use...
Spoiler, we're not. It's getting worse and it's accelerating.
Interactive graph: https://www.co2levels.org/
There is a lot of low-hanging fruit.
Coal is the #1 cause of climate change and phasing it out is the most important thing we can do. Just swapping coal for gas cuts CO2 emissions per kWh by 50%. The problem is that coal is cheap. In most places in the world it is still the cheapest way to generate electricity.
After that other big things are: live closer to work, use public transit, drive electric vehicles, eat less meat (especially beef), and improve home insulation if you use a lot of HVAC. Those are relatively minor lifestyle changes.
A lot of environmentalists really let the perfect (and very impractical) be the enemy of the good on this. We can make a substantial dent with very little change. After we do all the easy stuff like phase out coal, then we can look at what's left. This is how you solve problems in the real world.
In order of what will probably work best:
* Something barely noticeable (eg: any improvement in electricity production that does not make the customer's price skyrocket.)
* Something noticeable but not fundamentally annoying (Pay people to get electric vehicles, Norway-style. Make a large part of your transportation public and electric.)
* Something noticeable, but fun . I don't have a big idea on this one, and it kinda sucks.
* Something noticeable, and that "gets you laid" (tm). Something along the lines of "I have a Tesla. You should have sex with me.", but scalable. If someone finds this, we're saved.
The last one would be even more powerful as it could reshape at least some people's identity into "I'm the kind of person who care about climate change", so all the other changes that actually require discomfort could get rationalized away (apparently, we're pretty good at this as a species.)
So maybe someone needs to organize Vegan Supermodel Orgies as well as marching in NY. Just saying.
The west likes to blame China and India, places we've outsourced manufacturing and work to and yet somehow they still produce far less CO2 per capita. We shame people into reducing their individual emissions while ignoring the fact that industry produces most of the emissions.
The fact is, no country is going to take drastic measures. We don't know exactly what's going to happen when the world warms 3 degrees (we have ideas, but the world has been both warmer and colder in the past, and somehow life survived). We do however know what would happen if we suddenly stunted economic progress tomorrow (nothing good).
edit: "The west likes to blame China and India, places we've outsourced manufacturing and work to and yet somehow they still produce far less CO2 per capita. We shame people into reducing their individual emissions while ignoring the fact that industry produces most of the emissions." do you see how you are contradicting yourself here saying that placed we've outsource industry to have lower per capita CO2 emissions. Can you clarify that?
We can make changes without adjusting living conditions drastically - moving to EVs, removing fossil fuel subsidies, pushing solar over coal/gas.
In fact, we might improve our living conditions by reducing our addition to oil, as long as it's managed and not cold-turkey.
Nah, somehow I just got unlucky enough to log on when alarmist articles are somehow in the feed. I'm simply not huge on alarmism.
> moving to EVs
Which run on electricity generated by coal.
> In fact, we might improve our living conditions by reducing our addition to oil, as long as it's managed and not cold-turkey.
And we will. Just not huge on articles where every comment essentially says the world is going to end 10 years from now. It won't.
And I can continue that all day long.
When you are standing on the rails with a high-speed train rushing towards you and your buddy next to you is yelling "LET'S GET OF THE RAILS OR WE'RE GOING TO DIE!", that's not alarmist. But you try to make it look like that.
Seriously. Looking at your history of comments, climate change denials seems to be one of your things, so trying to reach you is probably a lost cause.
Yes, the world is burning. Yes, the ecosystem is failing. Yes, hordes of hungry refugees will roam the planet (probably even Alberta!). Yes, civilization is going to collapse.
(If we don't get our shit together REALLY quickly, which I doubt we will).
Sticking your fingers in your ears, sticking your head into the sand, singing "LALALA" very loudly and calling people 'alarmist' is not going to change that.
But hey! Après moi, le déluge!
At least we will have had the most awesome orgy of consumption and self-deception, like, ever.
Fact is, the world has more people than ever, yet is richer than ever, there's less poverty and hunger than ever, the world is more peaceful than ever, and there's certainly no signs of collapse and certainly not in 1 decade smh...
If you truly believe that we're a decade away from collapse, why aren't you stockpiling food and weapons in a bunker? Because there's no sign of political will from the major CO2 emitters to curb emissions so your worst case scenario is definitely happening, right? People say these things, yet I don't see any of the climate alarmists actually doing things to indicate that they're alarmed...
Yes, we've got more people than ever. There is less poverty and hunger than ever. The world is more peaceful than ever. That's because we've been on a glut of predatory ecosystem exploitation for the last 150 years.
The signs that we are running headlong into a global ecosystem collapse are everywhere. So my view is pretty much based in reality, so here are my facts.
If you care to check them.
We've wiped out 60% percents of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles since the 1970 (https://s3.amazonaws.com/wwfassets/downloads/lpr2018_summary...).
We've killed about 30% of the insect population: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decline_in_insect_populations
Phytoplankton has been reduced by 50% since the 1950s
https://www.nature.com/articles/nature09268 . You know, that's the stuff that produces our oxygen (https://earthsky.org/earth/how-much-do-oceans-add-to-worlds-...). An increase in temperature of about 5°C and more will probably kill off most phytoplankton.
These are just some documented and recorded facts. Now we get to the fun part, where we think about their impact.
Let's take for a given that the antrophogenic climate change won't stop at the blue-sky +2°C that everyone is hoping so hard for (hoping, not acting). According to IPCC 2018, we're CURRENTLY between +0.75 and +1.25°C, with the very real possibility of reaching +2°C by the 2040.
We thought that we had about 30 years to mitigate some of the worst damage. But now - holy shit! - the arctic permafrost is melting, about 70 years earlier than expected. And it's starting to release methane, a way more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. Sure, it rapidly decays in the atmosphere, but not before kicking us to about +4°C. This is the temperature range where some Scientists fear that frozen methane from the ocean floor will start to be released.
(Do you remember that at about +5°Celsius the phytoplankton will start dying off? )
So, we have a massive temperature increase at an unprecedented speed that makes huge areas of earths most populous regions inhospitable or even inhabitable. Do you think the Syrian refugee crisis was bad? Think about ~1 BILLION PEOPLE on the search for greener (literally) pastures. Do you think they will be welcome with open arms? Yeah, you bet..
Agriculture will be severely impacted. Not only by the heat, but also by the massive die-off that ensues. Most of the animals on earth have a lifecycle that's very closely tuned to the hum of the seasons. At +4°C you can kiss all that goodbye. The only things that will survive are generalist species that have a lifecycle not tied to the seasons. (Cockroaches maybe. Certainly not butterflies. Enjoy them while they last!)
There will also be terrible conflicts and wars about the most precious resource of them all. No, not oil. We'll have oil in barrels, nobody will be lacking oil (at least at first). No, I mean water. We'll have water wars.
This will also be the time that the global economy will start to collapse. War is good for only one business, and that's weapons. Everything else will suffer. Don't expect any deliveries from your Chinese online shop of choice. Consumer markets will crash, everything will come to a standstill.
No, I don't stockpile. Because this is going to happen over the course the next 30 years and I'll be long dead when the really bad shit is starting to happen. I've trained my kids to be able to work with wood and scrap metals to improvise all kinds of tools and machines. All of them are also receiving training as horticulturalists, for what's that worth.
That's the least I can do for them.
On the other side of the coin, the Earth is uncomfortably cool these last few million years. We have these repeated periods of glaciation. Having Europe, Russia, Canada, and the northern US ground to dust beneath kilometers of ice would be a bit of tragedy too on a similar scale. That it's further away in the future doesn't make it less of a problem - if we're too aggressive solving climate change we could imagine a future where we have to deliberately pump methane into the atmosphere to stave off an ice age. For better or worse we seem to be at no risk of this through our ineptitude in responding to climate change.
For people worried about coral reefs dying, it happened less than 10K year ago at the end of the last ice age. Sea level rose 400ft and drowned the world's coral reefs. They bounced back, as you can see today. They will also bounce back from climate change - it will just suck in the meanwhile. There are undoubtedly things we can and will do to make it suck less, like developing heat resistant corals, planting reefs further north/south, etc.
For people worried about coastal cities being submerged, relax, you'll be dead by then. Long term, we should be moving our investment to more sustainable areas. But infrastructure doesn't last forever anyway, so I think a lot of that may occur naturally as people just stop developing new infrastructure in low-lying areas. There's no question it will cost us though.
If you're really worried about climate change for your descendants, get Canadian citizenship. That's one of the few countries likely to benefit from climate change.
So to sum up, climate change is not all bad, just mostly bad, until or unless it runs away on us, and then the doomsayers may be right for a change.
This is part of the reason so little is being done to combat climate change now. If we don't act now though, the future generations will definitely drown. It will be too late for them to do anything.
> That's one of the few countries likely to benefit from climate change.
This is one of the most dangerous delusions. In our globalised interconnected world nobody will benefit. Just think about the last financial crisis. Mortgage crisis in the US caused chaos in the whole world.
I still think the comparative lack of low-lying coastal land, plus ample freshwater, increased growing season, and increased arable land will be net benefit for Canada and Russia. Plus if things are as bad as you say, they'll benefit from increased demand for immigration as well (even if you don't take on more people, you can select more desirable immigrants.)
This is not a crash situation like 2008, this is more like a glacier that's flowing towards you. You have plenty of time to plan your response, like moving out of the way, but you can't stop it. Trouble in other countries will have unpredictable, but not necessarily all bad effects.
The planet, frankly, doesn't matter. It'll be fine. The thing that matters is our technological civilization. Whether it's a gun or a glacier, our civilization is fragile, and when it fails, it's essentially game over for humanity - mass deaths followed by the remaining survivors stuck in medieval conditions for many thousands, or tens of thousands of years.
I get the sense you don't live anywhere near the coast.
It really is doom if whole cities are wiped off the map. Just because the process of that doom happens in relatively slow motion doesn't make it any less doom. Hundreds of coastal cities will be literally gone. But don't let the speed of the process trick your mind. It is actually urgent to act now. We need to decarbonize our economies within a decade or those cities are doomed. We need to motivate people, and we need less of this "meh, it'll take a while, we can sit on our hands for now, let's not get excited."
Well, they probably won't drown by the millions, but sea level rise contributes to coastal flooding in extreme weather events, such as hurricanes and typhoons, and most people who die in those events die due to flooding. So it is not a stretch to stay that thousands of people--perhaps tens or even hundreds of thousands--could actually be drowned by rising sea levels.
What are you talking about, people are drowning now. When a big storm tears through a low lying area or there is flooding, people drown.
> People will do some combination of building walls, raising land, and moving. It will play out over a period of a thousands years or more.
If we don't get climate change under control we're not going to have thousands of years, or even a few hundred years.
Yes countries will try to mitigate the effects by building sea walls but the truth is that you can't beat mother nature if you keep raising sea level and making storms stronger.
And this idea that people can just move is simply irrational. Who is going to buy property that is in imminent danger of being underwater? Who is gonna insure that property? The only lifeline to people in flood-affected areas is government buyouts, and many governments can't afford to do that even now, much less in the future when it gets much worse.
And then what, where will all of these displaced people go? Particularly people from island nations?
> There will be a non-zero cost associated with diverting resources for these things, but that's not the end of the world.
There will be an enormous and potentially impossible cost with trying to build and move fast enough to beat climate change in coastal areas.
> This is not a crash situation like 2008, this is more like a glacier that's flowing towards you. You have plenty of time to plan your response, like moving out of the way, but you can't stop it. Trouble in other countries will have unpredictable, but not necessarily all bad effects.
It's like an iceberg heading towards a massive boat that takes a long time to turn. If we make a hard turn now, we might only graze the iceberg, but if we wait to make our turn, it'll be too late to avoid impact.
> I still think the comparative lack of low-lying coastal land, plus ample freshwater, increased growing season, and increased arable land will be net benefit for Canada and Russia.
No it won't. First, even if new areas are warm enough to support crops, crop yields are heavily dependent on soil and rainfall. Those newly warm soils are simply not going to be as fertile as current growing regions. Secondly, if global economies are wrecked, being able to crow crops in Siberia is not going to be a net benefit. People think that climate change means that there'll be an orderly shift in temperatures, but it will be chaotic and unpredictable. And climates near the poles are warming that much, that is going to come with the positive feedback loop of methane released from permafrost which will accelerate warming.
Trying to passively adapt to climate change is outright foolish. There's no way human kind can build walls high enough, or somehow find a way to grow and cultivate crops, livestock, and fish at a scale that can avoid disaster and the breakdown of society. If we start shifting en masse to renewable energy and making consumption more efficient we might be able to get things to a manageable level. The earlier we make a massive shift, the better. Because later on we may be left with nothing but bad options.
"You'll long be dead" applies to the elderly politicians currently driving policies and laughing/mocking young climate activists. But the young climate activists like Greta or younger probably WILL be alive by 2100. Most of my children will still be alive by then, and when (if) I have grandchildren, they definitely will.
I think it's absurd to not give a crap about the fate of my children.
"Relax, you'll be long dead" is a statement contingent on the generation. The Boomers and older, who hold the vast majority of the world's wealth, have the least at stake while the young people currently striking have the most at stake. Climate denialism is basically an economic war on the young.
50-100cm of sea-level rise over a period of 100 years is a non-issue really. Most places won't be affected and those that will be have time to employ one of the three strategies mentioned. Everyone alive will be dead before it starts to really bite - that does not equate to permission "not to give a crap" to be perfectly clear. It's also not climate denialism to talk about the facts, which I shouldn't need to say.
EDIT: I understood your point was about how the REAL threat is the existential threat of nonlinear feedback loops, HOWEVER, I thought your post under-played the real consequences on people alive today of even the most likely outcome. We're going to have to rebuild much of cities that have been around for 100s of years. There's an enormous amount of capital involved here. Imagine Katrina-like scenarios but for dozens of cities in the US and at regular intervals. A vast system of dikes will be needed, probably at the cost of a trillion dollars, all along the US sea coasts. In addition to on the order of trillions in real estate that will have to be abandoned (in places like Miami, Norfolk, New York City, San Fran and surrounding cities, much of the Mississippi river delta in Louisiana including New Orleans, and even Washington DC) or maybe rebuilt on stilts or vastly upgraded dike systems. This is stuff in living memory of today, and it's the result of a stay-the-course growth in fossil fuel usage.
This is just based on my casual reading of events and history. If anyone knows of any good articles talking about this sort of thing, link me.
What happens when millions of hungry and displaced people try to move across borders to countries that are their outright enemies? Or if an already oppressed ethnic group is hit with a water crisis? One doesn't need to look far into history to see that it could lead to mass murder
That's a theory for what happened, but as I understand it the cause of this extinction has not been conclusively proved.
Hardly anything is "conclusively proved", although theories we can design experiments for are much more robust than theories about historical or geological events where we don't have that luxury.
By comparison, US carbon has been going down since 2007, despite a growing population and economy. Per capita it's been declining for over four decades.
China now emits more than the US and EU combined, despite having much, much less economic output.
China supplies the world a lot of goods. It doesn't seem appropriate to put the onus on China when the end result of that production run brings all that stuff over to another country.
Has anybody studied this yet? This point comes up every time this issue is discussed, but I don't remember ever seeing any effort into quantifying what the situation looks like from this perspective.
It seems fairly obvious to me that we should say "Total emissions by some date (say 2080) should equal some value (say X) and we calculate from the Industrial Age to that date and apportion according to what percentage of the Earth you own". The West polluted from 1900 to 2020 and reaped the rewards. The cutbacks The West must make must be proportional.
Otherwise it's like inheriting all your wealth from a thief and then making thievery a blanket crime.
It's also ludicrous that think that warming will stop and hold at 1.5 or 2.0c adding less won't stop the increase in climate warming, it will just cause the increase to be slower.
The other thing that's ludicrous is that we aren't monitoring the earth's output, the warming oceans, melting glaciers and thawing permafrost are now contributing greenhouse gases due to the warming climate, they are now locked into positive feedback loops. Which means every cycle the changes get a little bit bigger as the cycles feed themselves. Unless we can start to reduce the total amount of greenhouse gases in the upper atmosphere these feedback loops are just going to keep running.
Isn't our money better spent preparing for the inevitable effects of climate change?
No. The numbers have been crunched. Averting climate change is much cheaper than dealing with the effects.
Even if that wasn't the case, you don't just deal with the effects and then get on with civilisation. You still have the effects, and you're still faced with the same problems in the future.
In case that didn't persuade on an emotional level, here's an analogy for that last point: a doctor points out to you that you're putting on weight at a dangerous rate. Sure, you could manage it by buying bigger clothes and taking medication for blood pressure and cholesterol, but if you're still overeating (and accelerating the rate at which you're gaining weight) then you haven't solved the problem. You have all the inconvenience and expense of dealing with the effects, and the problem is getting worse.
But it makes no sense to spend money on the effects while the rate at which they're getting worse is still increasing. Like starting to repaint the house while the fire is still blazing.
We just need to do a lot more, keeping fossil fuel in the ground forever will always be more effective than any measures to live with the consequences.
ultimately we have to reduce emissions as much as possible while preparing for their impact -- and I am not an expert, but I suspect reducing emissions is cheaper in the long run than dealing with the effects.
I'm not entirely sure. People seem to be convinced that climate change will destroy all civilization, but in the distant past the earth has flourished with significantly higher temperatures than what we have today. Once our climate reaches a new equilibrium, humanity will adjust and everything will probably be OK.
And we can be certain that there will be a new equilibrium, otherwise life wouldn't have lasted for hundreds of millions of years.
>And we can be certain that there will be a new equilibrium, otherwise life wouldn't have lasted for hundreds of millions of years.
Basically every time something this major changes, the dominant species does too. We're smarter than previous dominant species, but since 'not having to deal with all of this bullshit' is far smarter than 'scrambling to come up with solutions that may or may not work and are unlikely to be cost effective even if they do', maybe not as smart as we think.
Whatever remains of humanity will adjust and live the medieval or pre-medieval lives for the next many thousands of years.
The most fragile component of the climate change issue is human technological civilization. Once it breaks, it's game over. Most of us and most of our families won't make it. Current level of technology is maintained through a complex global supply chain involving millions of people. When that breaks, humanity will regress. Devices will die, there won't be a way to repair them. Survivors will regress maybe to early industrial era for a while, but since all easily accessible dense energy sources have already been used up, this won't last and the remnants of humanity will regress further, and stay there for God knows how long.
It's not a fate I'd wish on worst enemies.
As for how this collapse would happen? All the climate change-related "small" issues increasingly clogging our economy. More expensive food, more expensive water, less arable land, less habitable land, unprecedented migration. Eventually, there will be war. Or the global economy halts, and then there will be war.
That really depends on what your definition of "OK" is, I suppose.
climate change is likely not going to destroy all civilization (notwithstanding sensationalistic New York Magazine article) but adding decades or centuries of "adjustment" -- droughts, floods, crop failures, less predictable extreme weather, displacement of people in coastal regions -- is likely to be very expensive.
hard to imagine that all this cost over several generations is outweighed by oil and coal being somewhat cheaper than renewables/nuclear.
Regarding China: "It’s the world’s biggest burner of coal, but it’s also the biggest global investor in renewables."
Keep in mind that China is the world's factory and a lot of services (IT etc.) are performed in India, so they are not just national emissions but emissions that we have offshored.
As long as GDP is related to emissions and globally advanced countries engage in zero sum competition, exploiting others by pressing their historical power advantage, there is a very strong incentive for China, India and the rest of the developing to catch up by any means necessary.
> Surely they will become an emitter at least as significant as China.
Looking at a country's total emissions makes no sense because the population needs to be taken into account. India will eventually have the largest total emissions, which is fine because per capita is really low.
Earth doesn't care about "emission per capita" though, it just cares about the total sum of emissions...
So "India eventually [having] the largest total emissions" means a huge extra tonnage of emissions will be added to the already troubling amounts...
So, the per capita number is mainly relevant in regards to fairness...
Every country has a set of natural resources at its disposal. It should manage and cherish those resources and not overtax them. If a country decides it's a good idea to perpetually grow their population when all they have are the same set of natural resources available, then well, the onus is on them to figure out how to do it without destroying everything.
There aren't countries, there are humans responding to the same conditions similarly. Economic development will slow their reproductive rate, like clockwork.
If you point to a family in the 60s in the US and a family in India today and find only one of them irresponsible, your thinking is flawed.
I assume you're following through with your convictions and will remain child free?
No, I will remain with my child at replacement rate (a little below actually), like my parents and my grandparents did (and all parents and grandparents on average here), and I expect them to be entitled to a lot more resources than someone who lives in a country where (on average) their parents, grandparents and themselves didn't follow the same principle.
As a fact, India's CO2 emissions per unit area are almost the same as EU. We are using the same share of ecological resources (assuming roughly they are equivalent on average per area), so there is nothing to give or to take from both sides.
P.S.: A family in USA in the 60's, 1st: didn't had any idea that there was such thing as a catastrophic global warming incoming, 2nd: had a 4x smaller population density than India has today. But sure, go ahead and keep pretending that Earth's resources magically increase anytime someone decides to have a new child, so that you can tell yourself we are all entitles to the same amount of resources, no matter the size of our immediate family.
It's not your racism that has you stating that someone in a country with a very good track record when it comes to CO2 emissions (and a number of other environmental aspects) should stop having children, so that someone in a overly populated country, with an appalling record when it comes to all kinds of pollution can have even more children?
If it's not racism from your part that makes you ask for that, than you should clarify what it is. But one thing is for certain, it's not environmentalism for sure.
I'm accusing you of casual racism for drawing a false distinction around the behavior of Indians. They are doing what everyone else has done in the same circumstance. Just because we have gotten our growth spurt and dirty economic development out the way doesn't entitle us to waggle our finger at those that took longer.
It's on the first world to fix things first. The wealthiest should have the lowest per capita emissions, not the highest. Shouting at the third world for their high population count isn't environmentalism, it won't work, and it doesn't give you the moral high ground.
We already established those aren't the same circumstances at all:
- 1st: we didn't have even 1/4 of the Indian population density when we were having the same birthrates.
- 2nd: When global warming became clear and urgent action was needed, we started reducing our emissions while India during that time already increased them by 400%, and is going to increase them by another 100% in the next decade.
It's not by keep repeating the same lie that you are going to make it a reality.
The poor in India should increase their emissions, because otherwise they'll die. Life expectancy has risen from 40 to 68 years since the 60s. Would you halve your life expectancy to fix global warming? I don't think so.
In any case, the births have already happened, and India is now barely above replacement rates, which you've conveniently overlooked. You want them to die because of the choices their parents made.
If you excuse me, I'm going to go take a shower. I honestly can't believe I'm having this conversation on HN.
Honestly, I think you and the other mods could be quicker with the ban hammer even if that means I'm on the chopping block for what I did here.
Eg the above account posted this nine days ago, and that was after a previous warning:
I've been under the impression for a while that it takes quite a bit more to be banned these days than five years ago, but that might just be nostalgia.
Anyway, I know you're volunteers and it's not really appropriate for me to be complaining about the dress code after fighting in your bar. I'm sorry for causing trouble.
I appreciate the decency of your response.
So, you are saying that CO2 emissions are actually good for the population and the way forward is to actually increase them even more. Interesting turn of events from an environmentalist.
> You want them to die because of the choices their parents made.
Funny thing to say, since you want the West to pay for the choices our grandfathers made and descend into deprivation, so that the rest of the world can go on polluting even more.
Here is the thing, people with your discourse aren't interested in saving the planet but into forcing your ideological agenda - which is got nothing to do with environmentalism but with your personal concepts of morality - upon the rest of us under the threat of environmental catastrophe. And the worst part of it? It does nothing to tackle climate change.
P.S.: > If you excuse me, I'm going to go take a shower. I honestly can't believe I'm having this conversation on HN.
Go easy on that shower, it's a big toll on the environment and, after all, you just spent the last 24h telling us all how those resources actually should belong to be used by people in India and not selfishly by me or by you.
But, there is nothing wrong with you having your agenda... just don't go around pretending you are pushing it due to environmental concerns.
True. How about reducing the extremely high per-capita emissions of developed countries? That will result in a huge drop in the total sum of emissions.
People in such countries are taking up too many resources and that is not sustainable for the planet. There needs to be a carbon tax.
I can only imagine how much money they spend trying to rebrand tarsands as oilsands...
I've seen it a lot on here and it makes me think it's not worth engaging with HN any more.