1.) Right-leaning, free-market, anti-authoritarian types need to understand that climate change is a negative third party externality, and there isn't a free market economist that wouldn't agree that the state has a role to play in ameliorating that. Focus on the strategies you think are best suited for that role, such as carbon taxes.
2.) Left-leaning climate advocates need to realistically prioritize objectives according to their tenability and impact. Airplanes contribute 2% of greenhouse emissions, how about we don't start there. Energy production constitutes by far the largest impact, how about we focus energy there, and not to beat a dead horse, but also seriously advocate on behalf of nuclear. They also forget that the other half of the equation, carbon capture, is almost unilaterally popular. Focusing efforts on where the most leeway can be achieved is a much better solution, particularly since carbon capture is capable of handling carbon emissions of states unwilling to regulate their own outputs.
They also need to cool it with the catastrophizing. It is a bad strategy. All the opposition has to do is point out how incredibly off-base the predictions were in an An Inconvenient Truth, and they're done. Accurately identify where the feedback loops are that cause enormous leaps forward, and focus on those precise thresholds. Near linear progress in the way we've seen it creeping does not scare people, but that doesn't mean that we can just be wildly inaccurate with the predictions in order to scare people in to action.
Lastly, don't shoehorn in other political policies alongside climate propositions. Green New Deal, for example, is first and foremost a bundle of socialist policies using climate activism as a vehicle. If this is truly the greatest threat to humanity, decouple it from adjacent political policy.
How about we start everywhere that can help? This trope that goes around that we should only focus on the biggest problem, and let everything else slide... that is why nobody does anything.
So how about we improve everything that we personally can, large or small, and drive a cultural change that shows big business/energy that the world does care about this, and they should, too.
Imagine: we go all-in on villifying air travel. It works! Everyone is shamed into commuting by train. Huge sacrifice, people don't see their extended families anymore. We do it to save the planet! Uh-oh: the needle has barely moved. "Well, yeah, it was only 2%, but it wasn't mutually exclusive with other stuff! No harm no foul, right?" Now you've lost credibility when it matters.
This hyperbole hopefully illustrates the more subtle reality: if you make even the slightest mistake there is a lot of Money ready to trip you up. Don't be caught of guard; stay on point, hit where it hurts: carbon tax. The rest will follow.
(By all means reduce air travel, keep talking about it, don't get me wrong. But never make it out to be more than it is, is my point. 2% is just that, and maybe it's worth it to us as a species to keep doing this, while cutting back more in other areas. That's the beauty of a carbon tax: it will allow people to decide just how important that 2% is to people, personally. Nobody knows that in advance, that's the power of markets.)
Some things just aren’t worth the effort, in terms of outcomes. Additionally, doing useless things gives people moral license, and absolves them of feeling like they need to do more.
If we pay attention to both outcomes and psychology, then it makes sense to focus on big things.
This is a false dichotomy.
Government (and industry) is not a single-threaded organization incapable of doing more than 1 thing at a time.
It's absolutely possible to do BOTH high impact and low impact things at the same time.
Whether or not airlines adopt better emmission standards does not affect whether bigger ticket items get addressed, too.
(Yes, if you're talking about the media or politicians, they of course are much more single-threaded in the sense that they may need to pick their battles, but generalizing that to absolutely everything doesn't make sense)
Edit: Perhaps our difference in viewpoint is that you're looking at it from the perspective of "what can the consumer do" versus "what can government / regulators / industry do". If you're talking about strictly what consumers can do to help, then I agree, reducing personal air travel probably won't make a difference for most people.
It's resources are also not infinite.
Things need to be prioritized and tackled in an intelligent order. The government can handle several initiatives that attack the problem from different angles but it can't do everything. Airplanes, for example, are a small part of the problem and fairly integral to the connected globe.
We could probably make more headway attacking just the power plant issue in 5 different ways than than attacking issues 2-6 simultaneously.
> Yes, if you're talking about the media or politicians, they of course are much more single-threaded in the sense that they may need to pick their battles, but generalizing that to absolutely everything doesn't make sense
This is all going to be done politically. This is a government level problem and there isn't a government office that is apolitical. You can help the most by voting for it. The things you can do as an individual are good but they'll be dwarfed if you win on the political stage.
I don't think it's a false dichotomy at all, because some things just aren't worth the effort. For example, straw bans are pretty worthless, hurt disabled people, and allow people to feel like they've done their part when they haven't.
With respect to airlines, yes sure they can and should improve efficiency and emission standards. However, lobbying dollars and hours that can be mustered by environmentalists are finite and should be directed towards more useful things like power generation to have the greatest per dollar/hour effect on climate change.
In terms of what consumers can do, from a consumer perspective there's not a lot other than perhaps ratcheting down energy consumption. However as citizens they can agitate for better energy policy, which is probably a better use of time than thinking of workarounds for low impact high visibility issues.
We could in short order feasibly end coal power generation if the environmental movement got focused on that. However instead, people busy themselves with concerns about air travel, straws, organic food productions, etc.
For example, banning plastic straws does basically nothing environmentally but upsets people who will then think twice about voting for someone who supports straw bans and actual useful policies.
Climate change activists need to be more pragmatic in order to actually affect change. They need to pick their battles better
There is nothing “anti-authoritarian” about the modern American right, except as a euphemism for “I don’t want to pay taxes”. Not much “free market” either, except as a euphemism for “corporations should have no accountability or oversight”.
If you don't understand the other side, or worse mischaracterize them, how can you possibly hope to bridge the divide?
An excellent question to pose to those left-of-center...
This is literally what the OP was about.
They would argue that anti-abortion is not any more authoritarian than being anti-murder, as it simply falls under the same law. The disagreement with a pro-choice advocate would be whether or not the fetus/baby is considered alive (arbitrary), and whether the woman's right to bodily autonomy supersedes the fetus/baby's life (arbitrary). So I wouldn't really call anti-abortion authoritarian so much as an arbitrarily different definition of life and arbitrarily different prioritization of rights. The authoritarianism of being anti-murder is already in place. I'm pro-choice, for what it's worth.
Immigration is also a little different. Strict immigration policies would be outwardly authoritarian, but you aren't imposing any imperative on your citizens.
Authoritarianism of the left-wing, however, is a different story. It's obviously not a bad thing so long as you support the authoritarian policies, but the role of the state is enormous as compared to what is supported by the right. Higher taxes (the abstraction of all state power), hate speech laws, affordable housing, rent-control, welfare, food stamps, affirmative action, diversity quotas, gun control, environmental regulation, trade tariffs (funny to see Trump utilizing policies advocated for by Bernie Sanders), free education, etc.
It is not even remotely debatable whether the role of the state is diminished in the right wing as compared to the left, that is almost definitionally the distinguishing characteristic between the two at this point.
Actually there are plenty of free market economists that would argue that negative externalities are the result of poorly defined property rights.
It was quite sad to watch the above kid without a well formed world view burst into tears over stolen childhoods while million of childhoods are taken away every year due to lack of opportunities (including electricity of any kind) in developing countries.
Greta Thunberg doesn't own the boat she went to the US with.
There's actually some evidence that this revenue-neutral approach is less palatable to those on the US political left, though (WA's failed carbon tax ballot initiative). It may be more attractive to those on the left to use revenues from carbon taxation to provide climate-equity solutions, like higher paying green-tech jobs in low-income areas, cheaper electricity for those in low income communities, climate resiliency, buyback programs for older/inefficient cars, subsidized EVs and public transport, etc.
Personally, I'm for either approach, as long as it gets done quickly.
Energy (heating, car fuel, etc) is required to live in our society. If you add more taxes on it, people aren't really going to change their behavior and do less of it.
In every case of these taxes, the energy companies will pass 100% of the taxes onto the consumer. If you can afford the taxes, you won't change your behavior. If you can't afford the taxes, the govt pays you back.
Just not effective in reducing CO2 or encouraging alternative energies.
Yes right out of the gate, it will make things more expensive across the board. However, the point isn't to decrease everyone's use of energy in and of itself. It's to get the companies to respond to their decreased revenue with greener alternatives. The decreased use by the population would help and you could make the argument that the wealthier demographic uses more energy than the poor so the taxation would be fairly distributed.
They don't have decreased revenue though. They pass the taxes through to the consumer, and the consumer behavior doesn't change because you're taxing a necessity of life.
Like another reply said, their power company gives them the option of choosing "green" energy. Most consumers cannot do that. If there is actually a choice, then raising prices on one of the choices would affect consumer behavior. But for the vast majority of people, they can't choose between green energy or fossil fuel based energy. No choice = doesn't matter what prices do.
If we're talking about taxing coal in rural India, you're right, but the bulk of the industrialized world will certainly be motivated to make changes. People will eat less beef, and more legumes, for example.
Some people take it as a point of pride they eat no greens. I think you're sorely underestimating how much they value eating meat all the time.
Consumers have options. Carbon taxes encourage them to choose the green options.
* It does not further harm poor people - as everyone receives an equal dividend, it makes a bigger impact the less you have.
* It provides a long-term, predictable carbon cost. Business can plan many years in advance and not be caught by surprise.
* It's effective at reducing emissions (not the exact scheme, but see Australia under the most recent Labor government, before the repeal of a carbon price).
I'd encourage everyone interested to get in touch with the Citizens' Climate Lobby and pitch in.
Governments can tackle several problems at the same time. And taxing air travel is a big deal for the social acceptation of other taxations for the masses.
To add to these I think the roll of government is to legislate in the best interest of the people, whereas companies act in the best interest of their shareholders. This effectively is a check/balance for companies when they do things that go against the interest of the people (Without mentioning corruption).
Nothing really happens unless there is an economic motivator or widespread fear. But with the climate changing gradually, we will most likely go the way of the ol' lobster in the pot and boil to death by the time we realize. So we need the gov. to step in and legislate some stuff.
When we first started producing plastics, running everything on petroleum, and burning things for energy, the scale was small and insignificant and we didn't know any better. But now that we can measure the impact and the cost of cleanup we can exactly say how much of a product, despite our best efforts, ends up in the environment and will need to be cleaned up. So if a company wants to produce plastics, fine. And if a company wants to run their fleets on diesel, fine. Lets just factor in the cost of the cleanup. You can't go around producing and using whatever you want and expecting others to pay for the cleanup or consequences. We are going to have to pay for it at some point, so factor that in.
The increased costs will incentivise alternatives, and for the things that don't have alternatives, at least we will have a fund for the cleanup and mitigation of the effects.
Carbon sequestration is not a low hanging fruit, arguably it's even less feasible, less economical at the scale required than fossil-free aviation.
I think young people's gloom is reasonable when constantly being confronted with climate change deniers, and even those who believe reality will fight tooth and nail against changing the economy towards being more sustainable, citing magical, non-existing or uneconomical technologies that would allow everybody to just continue like today. It's frustrating to talk to people who don't want to make small adjustments today, willingly accepting that everybody has to make larger and more radical changes later as society keeps kicking down the can.
Alternatively, solar panels are proven, and can be strapped to every roof top right now. Battery storage has been show to stabilize the grid. It's something we can do right now by incentivizing individual building owners
If we are going to get serious about the climate change, we need to think long term. Solar and wind is a red herring for base loads; they handle peak events very well when properly placed. Batteries are no where now or in the future production ready to smooth demand at the scale you are talking.
Globally agriculture and lifestock has an impact as large as the entire electricity production. Eating less meat (no need for full vegan, just less) is probably the easiest and most impactful change we can do.
Electricity is also important, but market forces are acutally doing fairly well in that area. The price of solar+storage in on track to drop below natural gas in a decade.
It's worth remembering that often something becomes politicized for the benefit of the politics, not the actual issue.
It's not about shoehorning anything, it's about how you diagnose the problem.
You can see the climate problem in isolation, and try to fix it as such, or you can see the big picture: worldwide the biodiversity is collapsing, there's more plastic than fish in the oceans, we're destroying fertile lands to build malls or with terrible agricultural practices, and so on. Climate change is probably the most threatening one, but far from the only systemic environmental problem we're facing. All theses issues have one root cause: industrial productivism, which, in today's world, is a key consequence of Capitalism.
 don't get me wrong, Capitalism isn't the only system leading to an ever-growing industrial production. And soviet Socialism has its shares of environmental catastrophes.
Sorry, that's impossible. Anytime you're doing anything with a direct or indirect price tag in the trillion dollar range, you're having a huge impact on the economy and jobs. You're picking winners and losers. So either you need to be explicit about it like the Green New Deal is, or you're hiding it, and you get the huge distortions caused by people like Senator Shelby giving NASA's SLS huge amounts of money because they spend it in Alabama.
What we need is a sensible alternative proposal from Republicans, and then a negotiated middle ground. That's the way we used to do things. It wasn't perfect, but it worked a lot better than just shouting at each other like we do now.
Maybe the right-leaning types correctly realize that the left-leaning types can't take "yes" for an answer, and that addressing climate change is not an end in itself, but a means for rehabilitating socialism:
> Every new job created to address the climate crisis must be unionized or have the right to unionize without interference and pay a family-sustaining wage.
If they agree to carbon taxes, is that it? Or does the battlefront just move to things like this: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/aocs-top-aide-admits-green-...
> “Do you guys think of it as a climate thing?” Chakrabarti then asked. “Because we really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.”
Because this is a real, and serious risk. The defeat of socialism as a competitor to market capitalism in the late 1980s has seen the greatest improvement in the plight of the world's most vulnerable people in the history of the world. Places like Bangladesh, my home country, have enjoyed 5-7% GDP growth annually for three decades. (Polls show Bangladesh second only to Vietnam in support for the free market.)
If it was just a matter of carbon taxes, or investing the IPCC-recommended 2.5% of GDP on mitigation efforts, I'd wholeheartedly agree with you. But if it's carbon taxes as a first step toward radical transformation of the economy--toward ideas that have been tried and failed--then no thank you.
This is not an abstract concern about slippery slopes. It’s the fact that now only a minority of Democrats have a positive view of capitalism, and a majority view socialism positively. It’s the actual stated principles of climate justice leaders who have launched a broadside attack on capitalism, trying to associate it with everything from climate change to racism to colonialism. It’s based on things like the Green New Deal concededly using climate change as a pretext for massive economic restructuring.
Regardless of your views, you can’t help whose driving the bus you’re on.
"In your view, is the purpose of addressing climate change: (a) to address climate change as an end in itself, or (b) a means for advancing socialism?"
that most Democrats in the US would choose option (b)?
(a) is capitalism a tool that has lifted tens of millions of people in the developing world out of poverty, or a tool for perpetuating racism, and colonialism, and environmental degradation?
(b) do you know that big-S socialists, including one of the architects of the Green New Deal, have latched onto climate justice as a tool for advancing socialism and attacking the liberal capitalist consensus: https://jacobinmag.com/series/green-new-deal; https://newconsensus.com ?
(c) in light of (a), what political compromises would you make with the people in (b) to address climate change?
You're kind of right about who's driving that bus - we've really been given no choice, have we? Both sides have offered a destination that takes only right turns.
Forcibly dragging capitalism back to a more inclusive middle ground, nearer where Eisenhower was politically, is hardly revolutionary socialism. Nor is wanting stronger constraints and taxes with fewer loopholes to the corporate machine. Enough to smooth the roughest edges, and limit the worst abuses. That is hardly exclusive to the left, outside the political and media bubble.
Moving back to the Eisenhower era would in fact hurt people. That was an economy where the government decided everything from what price an airline could charge for a flight to what routes a trucking company could run. It’s a roll back to an economic model that has been rejected throughout the developed world. There is a reason that everyone from Canadians to Australians to Germans to Swedes have kept electing market oriented liberals who kept pushing down government spending, corporate taxes, and regulation. Heck, Macron, the “socialist” candidate, is still pro-markets and pro-deregulation. (And socialist France has one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the world.)
Not in the developed one, quite the opposite. And the developing countries, rising living condition is a mere consequence of catching up with technological progress ( for instance, the end of famines in India has nothing to do with free market, and is in fact the result of a state-driven agricultural reform ).
During the last 30 years, prosperity in Cuba and North Korea increased as well…
Also, calling France a socialist country, is utterly ridiculous.
The French Socialist Party is most definitely not in this day and age socialist, and hasn't been for decades, just as Blair's Labour wan't socialist. They sit firmly in the centre, and are a centre left party nearer the British LibDems than Labour. In a US context, well there's not really a match, as it's too bipartisan. Macron, the former financial regulator and Rothchild banker, is worlds away from and would be unrecognisable to Mitterand. Yet Mitterand was of the same party. So no, France is not socialist.
That is why France is longer “socialist.” People keep voting for people like Macron, and have stopped voting for people like Mitterrand, because capitalism works phenomenally well.
As to the U.S., stagnating wages are not true either. There are at least two main problems with the simplistic comparisons:
1) They don't measure the same people. The common choice of start date for the "stagnation" narrative is in the 1970s. Since then, the percentage of people that are immigrants has nearly tripled. The percentage of older people skyrocketed, the percentage of married households have fallen, etc.
Looking at the same groups of people, for example, just married couples, has a huge effect: https://www.justfacts.com/income_wealth_poverty.asp
> This means that comparing the income gains of the bottom three quintiles in 1979 and 2007 has little to do with the path of real families. Instead it is a commentary on the overall structure of the economy in that it compares low income people in 1979 to low income people in 2007 even though they aren’t the same people. … For example, the median income of those 20-31 in 1979 and married was $51,800 (2007 dollars), while 28 years later in 2007, the median of those 48 to 59 and married was $87,200.
^^^ This website has a ton of other great data slicing and dicing the various income trends. For example:
> Page 1: “The changing composition of households in the U.S. is the effect explaining the reported increase in Gini coefficient for households since 1967. When corrected for actual decrease in the average household size the relevant Gini coefficient returns to that of personal incomes.”
> From 1967 to 2011, the Gini index for persons in the U.S. has not varied by more than 2%.
2) They don't account for benefits.
Focusing on just wages rather than total compensation ignores the fact that our tax structure has encouraged more of total compensation to go to untaxed benefits: https://fee.org/articles/dispelling-the-myth-that-wages-have...
> Average real wages and benefits have risen by nearly 40 percent since 1973, after adjusting for inflation. Sensational claims that 80-90 percent of Americans have experienced low and stagnant real incomes since 1973 are also shown to be incorrect . . . real consumption per person increased 74 percent from 1980 to 2004—a rate of improvement that far exceeded the trend from 1950 to 1979.
You can never boil it down, as politicians of every hue always try to after they won, to simply "because my way", "because capitalism", "because socialism" etc. Or as justification of the unpopular fringe policy that's a major swing issue to exactly none of the electorate.
It's as much "because the other guy is an arse", or simply who got the most enaging media smile and presence, or best slogan. Sometimes they are simply the least-worst of the two terrible, terrible choices presented in the election.
Simplistically it's a much shallower process than the actual issues. Quite often it is mostly events that swing it. 9/11, and The Falklands, made far, far more difference to election results than economic policies.
> Instead it is a commentary on the overall structure of the economy in that it compares low income people in 1979 to low income people in 2007 even though they aren’t the same people ... those 20-31 in 1979 and married ... while 28 years later in 2007, the median of those 48 to 59 and married was
Hoo boy, that's a really disingenuous way of presenting it.
In 1979, the office junior or trainee something, freshly out of college, goes on a journey through simply "something", and senior something, to head of team, department or one of many Vice Presidents in 2007. Twenties are most people's lowest earning years, and late forties or fifties their highest.
There would be something very broken indeed if most did not increase earning power in some sort of reasonable correlation to increasing seniority across their career. It's why we do indeed normally compare the progression of each quintile, or each job role across the years rather than of each person or individual family as they progress through the tiers.
> I don't think it makes sense to blame the airlines for that...
I think that's along that same line of thinking where we blame the consumer for using the services. It's a great way to turn the conversation to some nonstarter ideas.
I'd contend you could take a vacation in Alaska with the activities you mention and yes your consumption would exceed your normal life in SoCal even if you walked everywhere in Alaska.
And look it's great that you walked everywhere, I find that the best way to enjoy a vacation. I traveled to Calgary this summer and once I got there I tried my best to walk and bike around despite objections from my traveling buddies. But your one example vacation and my example vacation are not the norm.
The risk of catastrophic failure has been shown repeatedly to be something that arse-covering bureaucrats are incapable of handling.
The passive shutdown of the LFTR design, coupled with low area utilisation and the reduced risk of proliferation would have made it an ideal olive branch to the world.
But there's not much money to be made from ubiquitous energy.
We can ground flights immediately. Literally today.
Building new nuclear power stations takes a long time.
If you believe we have 15 years left you do the first one in order to give yourself time to do the second one.
However you're kidding yourself if you the primary danger if climate change is the climate itself, at least to western societies. Look no further than the most existential threat to thd EU posed by a mere million migrants. Fascism js suddenly back in fashion all over the continent and the Brits want to self immolate and leave the EU. The failing of major crops due to seasons becoming unstable has already happened and will only accelerate in the coming years. The American corn crop was dangerojsly close to failing this year. Are these young people being hyperbolic in believing extinction is right around the corner? A bit, but their sentiment is correct. The civilization that they are accustomed to could very well be completely distroyed or in a state of disintegration in 15 years.
The only thing that can realistically wipe out humanity is war, and climate change could bring war.
The economies in non-western countries aren't any different, often just less perfect versions of western market economies. (And sometimes, like with Taiwan or Singapore, more perfect versions.) The important point there, though, is that even imperfect market economies have led to enormous increases in prosperity for non-western countries. Market reforms in countries like India meant that GDP per capita more than quadrupled from 1999-2019, while it less than doubled from 1979-1999.
The climate justice folks, by contrast, want people from the developing world to rely on "endogenous and indigenous technologies and innovations in addressing climate change" so they can "develop, access, and transfer environmentally sound, socially acceptable, gender responsive and equitable climate technologies." https://www.peoplesdemands.org. (Luckily, countries like India are going with Thorium reactors instead: http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2018/ph241/wolak1. And that will be the ironic outcome of climate justice efforts. It will be essential to get India and China on board to address climate change, but those countries are too smart to jump on that bandwagon.)
Ironically, it is precisely the dichotomy you mention that justifies the hard-line opposition of the right-wingers. If tweaking market economies is not the solution, and the alternative to the status quo is "revolution," then it is utterly rational to seek to protect the status quo.
Of course nobody speaks for the "climate justice movement" categorically, in the same way as nobody speaks for "conservatism" or "progressiveism" as a movement. But if someone had said in 2008 that ACA was a stepping stone to Medicare for All, would that have been inaccurate?
Putting it another way: I don't think market-oriented environmentalists--for whom averting climate change is a matter of appropriately pricing carbon externalities--are driving the bus of that movement anymore.
Rashida Tlaib supports Scandinavian social democratic policies, and supports this website. But she'd support the social democratic policies either way. I agree with you and not with her (on Scandinavian social policies applied to the US), but her support for this website is not really evidence for it being representative of the mainstream; Tlaib is herself not even representative of the mainstream of her own party. That's why they call her, Omar, and AOC "the Squad".
So to rephrase my question: do you really believe the majority of people who believe we should make tradeoffs in our economy to favor combating climate change also believe in the nonsense in this People's Demands site? Because that's what you sort of directly implied.
Even the worst IPCC projections don't speak of anything remotely like humanity being wiped out within 15 years. Panic does not jump start change nearly as much as it seems to jump start despair, bitterness, and contempt for anyone with doubts, which apparently now includes people who do not think we are doomed.
These things that are very orthogonal, or in the way of, solving any actual hard problems that lie ahead of us.
But that's exactly what's going on. Climate change is a serious issue but the climate change elite have decided that the rest of us are too dumb to understand and react to what's really going on. Instead the working plan is to scare the shit out of everyone with click bait hoping to elicit some kind of response. Instead this promotes disbelief and complacency.
"The world will end in 15 years" is fundamentally based on faith, whether that is faith in science or in a prophet of some form. Saying "but MY faith is in something real" isn't a valid argument.
(and since the actual climate scientists say that the world is NOT going to end in 15 years...)
Therefore the effect of climate change could be far greater than their worst predictions.
Its pretty dishonest to post today, though. Its based on models that are obsolete, and is missing 6 more years of arctic ice extent. Using an anomalous minimum is just as bad as the deniers use of an anomalous maximum temperature from an El Nino year.
There's plenty of reason to be alarmed at the state of the climate and cryosphere, but it is important to be honest about it.
This graph only has observed data out to 2009. I'm unable to find a graphic with updated data, but this year the September minimum was 4.15 million, or about tied with that lowest point on the graph.
I am also not sure of what revisions (if any) have been made to those IPCC projections.
If I was an insurer and the Earth was a house, I would not be offering a policy.
I think though, that anyone that has fully grasped the IPCC reports, has to go through a grieving process that begins with despair.
Climate change is unlikely to kill me (unless through secondary effects like war), or even my daughter. But it's probably going to make my life more challenging towards the end, even more so for my daughter, and if she has any children they will probably be starting to face the real challenges (note: first world countries, for the global south, those timelines will be accelerated).
The despair though, is rooted in knowing that the natural world of my youth is gone forever (on human timescales). My daughter will never experience the same number of insects, fish, and birds I saw as a child. Diversity is lost as millions of species are already going extinct. Coral reefs will be lifeless ghost towns. I can never share that world with her or my future grandchildren. Because the damage we have already done will take thousands of years to repair, that world only exists in my memories now.
On the other side of despair is acceptance and personal action. I do what I can, but I realize I'm only one among billions, and I have to accept that I can't fix a global problem, no matter how bad I think the impact is.
For anyone interested in further reading, I recommend the book _Being the Change_, by Peter Kalmus (https://smile.amazon.com/Being-Change-Spark-Climate-Revoluti...)
 She'll never even touch dirt, drink water, or breathe air that doesn't contain thousands of microplastic particles.
The humanity must go through a few rounds of hysteria and emotional burnout before it realizes that click-driven advertisement and dopamine-driven social media is destructive to it and prevents from clear, rational thinking. It's the way it adopts to a new technological era. Nothing can be done here.
Every generation has its way (Joe Cocker)
> ENV17: Within the next 10-15 years, how likely is that the earth will become uninhabitable and humanity will be wiped out?
The other questions were directly about climate change, so presumably that framing had an effect. But on that short a time span, I think nuclear warefare has a more likely (though distant) chance of wiping out humanity than climate change (and I'm no climate change denier), and I could imagine some of the respondents reasoning similarly.
Why should someone be ashamed of themselves for having an opinion? Projections are not facts so why are you treating them as such and saying “sorry you’re wrong”?
That just doesn't work. Anytime someone dares express a view contrary to the group, they're shouted down and insulted into the ground.
I'm very optimistic about the future of mankind, which is funny to me, considering how cynical I am about interactions with other people.
They should be ashamed for irrational fear-mongering.
Even trying to devise a way to guarantee that humans go extinct seems like an almost impossible thought exercise. How do you exterminate 7 billion people spread over ~57 million square miles of land?
People have fervently believed in apocalypses for thousands of years, in at least ever other generation. The fact of the matter is that we are evolved from people that survived by exterminating other people groups. We have deep genetic memories of actual apocalypse, from tribes to nations. We are evolved to anticipate war and destruction- and adapt.
I believe that most people don't actually believe in 100% extinction of humans; they believe that there will be a relatively few amount of survivors, and hope to be among them.
I mean, just make the earth uninhabitable for humans. There are a few ways to accomplish this; even excluding climate change, nuclear weapons were and continue to be one such specter as the article alludes to.
Sure, some people will continue to eke out an existence even then, but it's quite easy to imagine humanity perishing over the course of a few generations after an event like that.
Also, when people say things like "humanity being wiped out" they usually don't literally mean "extinction of homo sapiens". They usually mean "quality of life significantly degraded" such that life resembles a Mad Max movie more than what we know today.
I personally don’t think it will happen, but it’s not exactly hard to think of possible ELEs given how we’re messing with the atmosphere. Another one of these  and we’re toast.
Over the next 10-15 years, 29% of all voters believe it is at least somewhat likely that the earth will become uninhabitable and humanity will be wiped out.
I don't think 29% of voters actually believe this. I think that nowadays, people frequently answer polls according to the emotional stance they would like to support, rather than the side of it they view to be factually correct.
In that case for some proportion of the respondents the poll question is equivalent to "would you like to take the opportunity to ask people to take climate change more seriously?".
(This is probably particularly true in cases where the response option includes some vague undefined term like "somewhat likely", so that it's hard for selecting that option to be an outright lie.)
- Yes I support candidate Y
- No, I support commies, nazis, etc.
Not saying that's what this poll is, but like I noted this website does not seem overly trustworthy. Also doesn't 29% mean 29% of this site's audience who replied to the poll as opposed of all voters
The practice of selling indulgences was the target of Martin Luther's theses, that is the church would preach Original Sin, fire-and-brimstone, etc, the offer convenient ways to purchase your way out of this terribleness. Authors like her preach a doomsday fire-and-brimstone of their own and very conveniently offer absolution by buying her books, implementing her views as laws (see Leap Manifesto in Canada) etc.
I mean, I'm a pretty firm believer in taking a strong course towards a carbon-free future, but I don't think whipping up such a fear frenzy will turn out well.
Consider the benefits to the cause of carbon nano materials
See also: Ozone holes, Y2K, etc.
However, maybe you'll pay attention to all the dire predictions in the next ten years, and maybe ten years after that you'll notice that the world just keeps getting better despite all the people claiming it's worse and will end soon. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think so.
The way for you to win would be to counter my argument: Show the amount of money/time/etc. that went into resolving the AIDS crisis was minimal (and of course, you'll have to argue what minimal means). I can easily find resources to the contrary  .
> However, maybe you'll pay attention to all the dire predictions in the next ten years, and maybe ten years after that you'll notice that the world just keeps getting better despite all the people claiming it's worse and will end soon.
It keeps getting better because people keep devoting time, energy, and money into resolving these problems. "The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance" and all that. We've seen what happens when people stop being vigilant: Things like the return of measles in the US.
I'm mostly shocked to hear this sentiment on HN of all places; IT is notorious for encountering "the servers run fine and never go down, what do we pay you for?" attitudes. Surprised you don't understand how it applies to other areas of life.
Honestly, I'm not interested in winning this one. I've seen this all before, and someday maybe you'll have seen it all too.
Even then, a small percentage can always survive in closed-loop habitats shielded from the outside world, ala Biosphere 2.0.
It can be the new fusion: "ready in twenty years"... indefinitely.
Methane from decomposing formerly-permafrost in Siberia and Canada.
What ends up happening is in 15 years nothing happens and these people get more jaded.
Don't believe this data at all.
Nuclear war probably won't wipe out humanity either. Lots and lots of people would die in the countries involved and a few hundred miles downwind of the fallout but other locations would probably only see increased cancer rates. I say probably because while it looks like fears of nuclear winter were probably oversold there's still a fair chance that they weren't and we'd be looking at 5 years with no plant growth after a nuclear exchange. In which case, hey, there's this charity called ALLFED working on how to feed people in the event of a nuclear winter or meteor impact or supervolcano eruption causes a global years long winter. Things like how to operationalize turning dead trees into edible mushrooms at a huge scale.
In other words, Y. pestis might still be treatable with modern antibiotics and is well controlled with modern sanitization.
But if MERS-CoV and influenza got together, or NDM-1 genes horizontally transferred to group A strep, you could end up with a highly contagious and highly fulminant threat.
However, these kids will be dealing with the consequences of extreme climate change in their lifetimes. Lots of people are going to die. Some societies will collapse. It's not going to be easy and having the world leaders today range from offering emotional support and no effective policy decisions to outright hostile to the entire concept of climate change is not helpful.
We have enough of a disaster to deal with, there's no need for fearmongering.
For real though I swear half of hacker news must work in oil and gas.
I can imagine that we have set the feedback cycles in motion that will make Florida uninhabitable. But I fail to imagine how we might make Germany uninhabitable within 150 years (small coast completely covered by costal defenses, most of the country over 200m above sea level, well equiped for snow so a local ice age could be managed, fairly far north so warming isn't a major threat to agriculture). Even if we managed to make that uninhabitable we could just move to Siberia.
All out nuclear war would be pretty bad and might end humanity, but US and Russia have a well practised routine of interference and proxy wars that gives aggression a less deadly outlet, and the other potential match-ups like India-Pakistan or Israel-Iran would be very localized.
Is that a joke?
Conflating 'catastrophic climate change' (ie. more thousand year floods) and 'apocalyptic climate change' (ie. a big flood will kill us all!) muddies the water and lends ammunition to climate deniers.
Even nuclear war would likely leave a few stragglers to rebuild some semblance of society that worships a manna-giving snack machine.
If people really believe humanity will be wiped out in 15 years and yet still concern themselves with their checking accounts and sense of fashion I would really wonder if there is some kind of mental health illness at play.
"Do you think you will still be alive in 15 years?"
You would probably get a different answer.
Our love affair with eating meat (specifically red meat) has 3 pretty bad side effects:
* greenhouse effect (something like 18% of the total greenhouse effect is from farm animal produced methane).
* uses a ton of fresh water (hundreds of times more water used to product beef than vegetables).
* uses up valuable farm land to grow animal feed crops (something like 33% of all arable land on Earth).
So, lets pass some fucking taxes on red meat, eh?
You'd see a lot more people doing insane things to cross items off of their bucket lists if this was true. Instead you see these young people going about their lives as if nothing is any different.
In a way this is very hopeful.
One day some large object will be on course that will spell the end for us. Time to gear up in preparation given that our present defensive resources are pitiful.
But words are stupid compared to methane being released from the permafrost which intensifies the green house effect by 3 times that of carbon dioxide.
We ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
And it’s unbelievably fucking sad.
In 15 years we’ll have a good idea of how truly screwed we are.
But it’s ok. Elon will send us to Mars.
A lot of people believe a lot of things some serious some stupid. I don't see why we should be concerned if people believe that a real problem is, in fact, real.
What is the possibility that in 15 years it is too late to turn around climate change? (I don't know the answer.)