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Sea 'Boiling' with Methane Discovered in Siberia (newsweek.com)
137 points by Filligree 13 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 112 comments

So have we fired a clathrate gun then [1]? It's getting increasingly difficult to pretend worst-case global warming scenarios won't turn into reality in the next 25 years.

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

No. Most methane calthrate exists at depths and pressures that will not be effected by warming for hundreds to thousands of years.

The calthrate gun would more likely be the result of volcanic or continental landslides that mix warm surface water with disturbed sediments.

This is probably a product of local geological activity.

> No. Most methane calthrate exists at depths and pressures that will not be effected by warming for hundreds to thousands of years.

The calthrate gun is on geological timescales, if we've created enough warming for the reaction to become self sustaining (releases create more warming, creating more releases) over thousands of years then we have fired the gun.

Maybe, but that's not new. Atmospheric CH4 has been far, far above historical levels for decades.

No, we've fired the permafrost gun. A smaller gun, sure, but with a hair trigger.

There is clathrate under the permafrost, but I doubt that it's substantially vaporizing yet.

What should we do?

Throw as much engineering and innovation at the problems as possible. Conservation alone is no longer sufficient.

And I meant problems. As in, protecting the food supply chain, protecting the electronics supply chain, adopting a defense posture to prepare for a far more desperate global population, finding ways to save coastal cities or quickly relocate people, throwing everything at the wall for innovative new exotic energy generation and storage systems (far past nuclear) and, most importantly, preserving the knowledge and means of humanity.

We're past the point where pretending this will get fixed politically is reasonable. We need to assume it won't and work to protect the future in spite of the horrors to come.

I wonder why ocean fertilization isn't talked about much anymore? All the articles I found about it were from ~10 years ago, with some vague conclusion that we shouldn't do it because it might be bad for the life on the ocean floor or something. There are no good solutions though, nothing will be perfect.

Haven't read anything about it in a while but I believe the conclusion was it wouldn't work, basically because it would take way too much iron to even start to make a dent.

There wasn't a real conclusion because the tests were always small. Governments became afraid of triggering toxic blooms and otherwise messing up coastal ecosystems and then being liable for damages, so they put a moratorium on testing [1]. Then in 2012 someone illegally tried it again anyway, with mixed results [2].

Basically it's like most geoengineering projects - everyone is too afraid of negative consequences to really try anything at scale, so instead we get endless inconclusive studies. Personally, I think we're going to pretty quickly get to the point where we need to make decisions about what negative consequences are acceptable to prevent complete environmental catastrophe.

[1] https://www.nature.com/articles/453704b

[2] http://www.planetexperts.com/two-years-russ-george-illegally...

That wasn't the conclusion. It'd make a dent, but not sufficient by itself. The real reason is people are skeptical of the wisdom of geoengineering in general. But I think we will almost certainly have to look at it.

This is what I read as well. Couple this with planting 1e12's trees, maybe aerosol injection and possibly buy some time.

I don’t mean to pick on you, but this question comes up in every single climate change post. Answering it is exhausting. We need a climate change FAQ.

The simple answer is end fossil fuels. How do we do that? Vote, eat less meat, bike ride, strike, protest, invest in solar, boycott, reuse, buy less, telecommute, etc. Use your imagination. Do something, do everything, the end goal is we all stop releasing sequestered green house gasses into the atmosphere.

> The simple answer is end fossil fuels. How do we do that?

Build nuclear power plants.

All the other things are fine, but if you really want to end fossil fuels, you need a non-fossil-fuel source of reliable base load power. Nuclear is the only one we have. Other sources are fine, but they can't produce reliable base load power.

And, btw, I think we should end fossil fuels even if it turns out not to make much of a difference to climate change (which might well be the case since all of the models that have a high sensitivity to CO2 built in have been over-predicting warming for several decades now).

>Build nuclear power plants.

And to all the people who say "they take too long there isn't enough time": the best time to start nuclear power plant construction was 10 years ago, the second best time is now.

Except by the time the plant is done being built (10 years late and 10x over budget) renewables will have surpassed it in terms of cost for deployed GW, and grid-scale and consumer batteries will be at the point where we can store and demand shift enough power to use all the renewables we can bring online.

Renewables has already surpassed nuclear in the US. I think the new reality is the best time to build a nuke plant is never.

Go into this with an open mind, but it shows a number of ways that nuclear is superior to renewables, coming from someone who was staunchly against nuclear:


It’s a great video - thanks! I’m less worried about the safety, than the actual ability to just manage to build the damn things to spec and any kind of budget in the US regulatory environment.

Here's a way for nuclear to make a dent: if the defense officials [1] who claim the climate change is a security threat are indeed serious about it, they could demand that Congress legislate the US military to be net zero carbon emitter. The US Navy can then build and operate enough reactors to achieve that. They already are operating dozens of naval nuclear reactors, and acquiring new ones at a steady pace (2-3 per year). Their regulatory hurdles are basically zero.

Currently the US defense emits a non-negligible amount of CO2 [2]: "If it were a country, it would have been the world's 55th largest greenhouse gas emitter, with emissions larger than Portugal, Sweden or Denmark." [2]

[1] https://www.npr.org/2019/03/05/700462955/former-defense-lead...

[2] https://www.livescience.com/65698-defense-department-climate...

> renewables will have surpassed it in terms of cost

Are you thinking in terms of dollars or including the price of future use/materials? In other words, can’t a nuclear plant effectively be swapped in for a (e.g.) coal-fired generator and Just Work, versus all the materials (grid-scale collectors, batteries, etc), which is just the next generation of junk in a treadmill that’s still a carbon problem?

I ask because I don’t know.

Look at the other article on the front page about air pollution. We’ve actually made tremendous progress reducing sulfur dioxide emissions from coal in the last decade. To damages from air quality problems in the US are down 20% overall, which is a economic savings of $1.6 trillion per decade.

The waste stream from solar is a real question. The video posted in the other reply brings it up as well. We definitely need panels that are designed for extremely long service and recyclable end of life. I do think the battery tech is evolving extremely rapidly and dovetails with EVs so that will help keep renewables competitive even as total overall renewable supply share increases.


So... backed by about 24 to 48 hours of storage, and overbuilt by a factor of 2 to 3 (so you curtail most of your energy), wind and solar can produce reliable, baseload power. Particularly if you connect geographically separated regions and use wind/solar (and possibly geo/hydro) together. The cost is about the same as nuclear.

We should do everything, though, including nuclear. i'm a big nuclear fan. All at once, right now.

If the cost is the same as nuclear, it should be preferred, as there is no nuclear waste.

And that's probably even also considering that both the actual cost of nuclear[0][1][2][3], as well as the risk of failure[4][5] and the therein resulting costs[6] are often wildly underestimated.

[0]: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4631737.stm

[1]: https://www.pv-magazine.com/2019/01/31/debunking-the-low-cos...

[2]: https://financialtribune.com/articles/energy/9386/nuclear-de...

[3]: https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/letters/true-cost-of-nucl...

[4]: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4543400/Scie...

[5]: https://phys.org/news/2017-05-nuclear-greatly-underestimate-...

[6]: https://cleantechnica.com/2019/04/16/fukushimas-final-costs-...

I'm including the wildly inflated costs, here. And it only works at lower latitudes. At high latitudes, it's not viable.

And engineer some safe small-scale reactors for container/cruise ships. It's a crime we aren't hedging our bets on renewables with some next-gen prototype reactors.

Generally, I do find that a good idea, but I seriously doubt the people operating those ships are to be trusted in the proper handling of nuclear equipment.

Make operation of diesel cleaner and thus more expensive so that sails and PV would be considered and used as well.

Hydropower can work for base load, but it has its own issues.

I call these kinds of suggestions abstinence based environmental policy and it will work about as well as shaming teens into not having sex. Abstinence based sex ed results in more STDs, teen pregnancy, and abortion. We've been preaching abstinence based environmentalism since the 70s. Load up the atmospheric CO2 graph and look at the plastic in the ocean and see that the result is basically the same. People pretend to go along, do showy things like wear promise rings or ban plastic straws, and keep fucking and driving and running their air conditioners.

People won't go for being shamed into reduced wealth, especially when the shaming is coming from comparatively rich people. Try to force it on them and you will get a populist revolt.

So by all means keep preaching 70s style lifestyle shaming environmentalism if you want another 50 years that looks identical to the last 50 years. People will listen, nod, and ignore, just like they do with sexual moralism.

The answer is to replace fossil fuels with solar, wind, nuclear, etc. and to electrify transport and industry. Replace as in generate the same or even more energy. As I say this I live in a place where as much as 50% of my power is solar on some days and I drive an EV. We are close to cracking the storage problem with better batteries and scaling production of them. This is very possible.

Sort of like how you cut STDs and unwanted pregnancies by making contraception available and guys putting rubber things on their willies. It's what works. Only ideologues oppose it.

The replacement is well on its way. EVs in particular will usher in more renewables because the next generation of EV batteries will have cycles to spare, so they can be grid-tied and earn their owners money.

It will all naturally happens over the next several decades as the cleaner tech becomes technologically superior as well as cheaper.

The investment needs to be made as a way to improve infrastructure that provides better service at less cost, not as a “shut it all down” panic - or else the damage of forced switching itself will be measured in the trillions.

Any climate change that’s happening in the next 10 years is happening regardless of net CO2 emissions over those next 10 years. In reality, the solar minimum we’re in will significantly mitigate climate impact in the short term while the technology for cleaning up is rapidly advancing.

> The answer is to replace fossil fuels with [renewables]

I agree.

> So poverty.

Don’t be so dramatic. Would it kill you to turn the thermostat up while we convert our global power infrastructure to renewables?

My list of example actions one could do to to fight climate change was not exhaustive or exclusive.

I understand, but when you lead with reduce people hear "rich elitists want me to be poor." They hear that because they have in fact been told that by clueless ideologues for decades.

That's true along the white/blue collar divide in the West and even more so between the developed and developing world. Think Africa is going to listen to the people who used to gather slaves from them and colonize them tell them they can't do what everyone else is doing because we need to save the Earth? The response will be "fuck you, we're poor."

Hell France's vast yellow vest protests were in part triggered by a gasoline tax. Egypt's revolution was in part triggered by rising food prices. Reduce = revolt. This is because anything that increases prices of consumables amounts to a strongly regressive tax. It hits the poor much harder than the rich.

So I get what you mean but I think that whole rhetorical line is actually counterproductive. Focus on replacing fossil fuels. That matters far more than little token reductions anyway. Replace coal with solar and gas cars with EVs and the carbon reduction is large and more importantly persistent.

Personally I like to frame it as progress. Solar could in fact scale much larger than fossil fuels. In the future it could actually provide cheaper more abundant energy.

Passive solar design can improve comfort levels wile dramatically lowering energy use.

No real sacrifice involved -- other than giving up our entrenched mental models that dictate we can either be good or we can have satisfaction, but not both.

> eat less meat

While eating less or no meat is a big part of it, it's more nuanced than it's often presented. For instance, this talk provides a very, very good argument for keeping livestock. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpTHi7O66pI

Not disagreeing with you, only replying to you for visibility/to add on to what you said.

While you are correct there is just no way that this is going to happen. Even if you could convince all the West to give up FF then I don't think you could convince China and India. Also there is no way you could convince the majority of people in the West to give up FF because a large percentage still don't believe climate change is man made. I was having a discussion a couple of nights ago with someone who thought it was all a conspiracy and when I said well NASA says the number of climate scientists behind it is 94% they still prefer to believe the right wing radio.

I really can't see this being turned around unless a major technical breakthrough is discovered which I consider fairly unlikely.

At this stage no one knows exactly how bad it will get. I've got between 30 & 40 years left (and no kids) so I don't think it will be catastrophic in my lifetime but I still have basic plans in my head about becoming more self-sufficient in the future as one way to deal with a potential fallout should there be some kind of calamity in the future.

Consider these -



On the wikipedia "list of photovoltaic power stations", China and India turn up on top when sorted by plant capacity.


yes I have heard of some of those but I've also heard of Adani wanting to build coal plants too - a quick search showed this https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/15/climate/coal-adani-india-...

So yes it would be great if they can make progress but I will hold judgement for some time.

All of that is pointless, it will not work, and anything that requires human behavior to change en mass without direct incentives is wildly unrealistic. Imagine doing all that, only to die, all the same. We cannot accept simple answers, we need complicated engineered answers.

Increasingly, I find the best thing to do is get your affairs in order, do not birth a child, and try to enjoy what is left of this life before it’s all over and the world cooks to death.

If life must have no purpose, then you might as well choose to be happy. And I mean it. BE happy, before it’s too late.

Or live a carbon-negative life and teach your kids to be carbon-negative as well.

Geoengineering is really the only realistic option if this is the case.

Sulfate aerosol injection is by far the most promising. And cheap - maybe 5-8b per year [1]. I'm not claiming this is a good idea in any way. As they say: desperate times call for desperate measures. We could buy ourselves several decades to sort our (as humans) shit out. We don't understand the unintended consequences very well, but at least this technique mimics natural processes (volcanic eruptions).


I've a hunch that a Lagrange point sun shield is becoming quite affordable with recent reductions in cost of launching to space. A sunshield consisting of many self orientating mirror bearing craft would have the advantage of being able to be quickly attenuated if required, even filtering more or less light on particular continents or weather systems.

It could win you some time to resolve real issues, wont work as permanent solution as stopping would have quick devasting results.

Well, cutting CO2 and CH4 emissions won't have much impact on decade scales. But we should still do that, to mitigate longer term damage.

What could help shorter term is adaptation. Moving cities to higher ground, away from oceans. And building dikes, where it's workable. But not in Florida or New Orleans. Maybe not even for New York City.

Also moving populations to areas that require less air conditioning. And moving farmland from areas that are becoming more arid. So generally, poleward.

And then there's immigration. As others move generally poleward. Targets could block immigration, and build walls where feasible. As the US and UK are doing. Or they could focus on integrating immigrants, as some EU nations are doing. That seems like the best long term strategy. Otherwise, you're going to have huge refugee camps, near borders, and probably end up killing lots of people.

And then we have social and political implications. I have no clue about that. Except to extrapolate current trends. So socially, that would be increased concentration of wealth, with the wealthy increasingly isolating themselves from the poor. And politically, increased authoritarian control, with associated surveillance.

Interesting times, for sure.

Nothing. Too late.

Our current global political structure can't coordinate such action. So what will left to be done is dealing with the mess.

Big countries will have a lot more room to weather this, but small countries are on their own.

Document our failures as a species for the next one that attempts to ‘civilize’?

Or for our next time around the cycle. At which point I think of Mote Prime[1]. Their "museums" were to document tech for rediscovery each time around the cycle, after their civilisation crashed.

[1] Mote in God's Eye, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

Methane is a valuable resource, so it should be cost effective for somebody to capture it.

Certainly not. Methane may have some value, but it is quite plentiful and fracking has made it cheap. Oil drillers already flare it off when it's inconvenient and uneconomical to capture. You're talking a methane release spread across continents, then dispersed into the atmosphere in parts per billion.

Green new deal applying financing to scaling known replacement tech like wind solar batteries and electric vehicles.

Also separate programs to identifying war scale R&D to identify topics and research them widely. Adjust contracting criteria for ability to pass scaling gates instead of financial or other criteria (this is the war terms for us).

Labor programs for rapid training and factory capital deployment.

Use technology to survive in an inhospitable atmosphere. Probably without any dependency on the atmosphere outside our cities in the long run. Cleaning the atmosphere is harder when you’re just trying to survive.

EDIT: Inhospitable atmosphere, to my mind, includes weather, drought, flash floods, etc. Not just the chemical makeup of the air.

> Use technology to survive in an inhospitable atmosphere.

Oh, please. The atmosphere will be perfectly hospitable. This is just FUD.

Really? Everything I’ve heard indicates a fairly dramatic change in the weather patterns as our global temperatures rise by even 1-2 degrees. The atmosphere is not just the chemical makeup, it’s the weather it creates. The droughts. The flash floods. The unnaturally cold winters, and unnaturally hot summers. Or vice versa - neither is very good for us.

> Everything I’ve heard indicates a fairly dramatic change in the weather patterns as our global temperatures rise by even 1-2 degrees.

These are not predictions based on data. They are predictions based on models--the same models that have been overpredicting warming for several decades now.

The actual data says that extreme events have not been getting more frequent. Their consequences have been getting more severe because so many more people live in areas that are primarily affected by them. That's not a climate change problem: that's a problem of mismanagement and politics. The southwest US has been a desert for centuries if not millennia--now all of a sudden lack of water is a problem? Anyone with half a brain could have seen that coming. Coastal cities are finding problems with drainage? Sea levels have been rising since the last Ice Age ended, and if your coastal city in a hurricane zone suddenly has a problem with a storm surge, that just means you've been ignoring the problem for too long.

Yes, the climate is changing; it's always been changing, and it will keep changing. People need to be given accurate information about risks and the tools to adapt to change.

Do you have a citation on the claim that mainstream models have been overpredicting warning? I'm not aware of it.

I'd like to seem them too.

From what I've heard so far, scientists have been underestimating the nature of climate change, almost perpetually, like any good scientist should do in order to keep their reputation.

2009: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7890988.stm

2019: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/scientists...

Cherry-picked input and model data to exaggerate their claims, Pat Michaels and Chip Knappenberger both work for the CATO institute, and Ross McKitrick is an economics professor and known climate change denier[0].

I do not have enough in-depth understanding of climate sciences in order to fully comprehend the articles you've attached, nor can I be bothered to (there's no attempt to make it accessible for the layman), but the comment section appears to be quite telling.

Does that sound rich to you? Well, I'm a simple programmer, not a climate change specialist, but Judith Curry OTOH is, and she has chosen to "not “bother with” peer-reviewed journals, in favor of publishing her own papers so that she could editorialize and write what she wanted “without worrying about the norms and agendas of the ‘establishment.’”"[1]. In other words, she's a lone scientist defying the consensus. Maybe she's our modern day plate-tectonist, but in all probability, not.

EDIT: To summarize, why even write (apparent) highly scientific articles if you're ignoring all the other scientists? To me, it just seems like someone wants to appear that way.

[0]: https://twitter.com/carbonbrief/status/913361157846597634

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

> I do not have enough in-depth understanding of climate sciences in order to fully comprehend the articles you've attached, nor can I be bothered to

And yet you have no problem accusing the authors of "cherry-picking" and exaggeration. Amazing how people refuse to accept that ignorance and refusal to look at the facts disqualifies them from having an opinion.

Btw, Judith Curry has plenty of published peer-reviewed papers; even the Wikipedia article you reference notes that (apparently you can't be bothered to read that either). She took the position you describe in 2019 (according to that same article); her doing so was based on bitter experience with how much the peer review process has been hijacked by ideological partisans.

> she's a lone scientist defying the consensus

If you think Judith Curry is the only scientist who questions the "consensus" in climate science, you are extremely misinformed.

Yeah, let me get back to you on the overestimation of the severity and frequency of weather events after I make it through our second record breaking snow storm this fall.

Sure, this could just be an isolated event, but there sure have been a lot of record breaking isolated events these last couple of years.

Maybe some years ago it was just models. By now we have also a lot of direct data. Make yourself up to date with recent developments.

Nothing. We're fucked. The world will die in the pursuit of expanding growth and profit.

Get a time machine

Could this be mitigated by floating a whole bunch of logs / other flammable carbon based material and burning them, burning off the methane in the process?

It would certainly lead to increased local temperatures in the short term, but it would remove the methane problem, and if we got enough carbon into the air we would eventually see a "nuclear winter" type cooling effect. This is obviously Bad and we'd need to burn a fantastic amount of wood to accomplish it, but as far as I know it's the only readily accessible global cooling mechanism we have that is practical to implement.

This seems like a potentially good idea. Get it straight to CO2 as soon as possible. Otherwise I believe the half-life in the atmosphere is on the order of 10 years.

The problem I could see though is that it would likely speed up the melting of the Arctic. I'm sure there are really complex tradeoffs and someone would have to study them very carefully.

Intuitively I expect the gas to dilute very quickly, making it hard to burn efficiently over large surface areas... how much energy do you put into the fires vs. the amount of gas that is actually converted to CO2. It doesn't help that the methane will rise. All that energy will just go into quickening the melting of the Arctic. Which will also hasten climate change.

Like yeah if you could visualise methane pockets and target them with lasers to the point of combustion as they erupted, sure that could maybe work and much more efficient at converting the gas. Still seems far fetched though.

This is a vast area, you could float and light the whole amazon rain forest and it would only make a small dent for a day.

In that case, maybe it'd be more effective to just drill for natural gas in the area and get it out of the ground before it has a chance to escape into the atmosphere? Might even turn out to be a profitable venture depending on how difficult it is to extract the gas in that area.

It's not a trapped gas deposit, it's methane in a solid form spread across vast areas of the world so there's nothing to contain it and nothing to drill into. It's unlikely to have any concentrations for high enough and long enough to ever be worth extracting.

It's comments like this that make me question if people really understand climate science.

If all we have to do to cool the earth is as simple as explained above, then global warming is solved.

I took this idea to be: since methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2, and since it takes decades for CO2 to decay in the atmosphere on its own, maybe we could speed up the decay process (via combustion) in order try and avoid triggering extreme positive feedback (the clathrate gun).

Also yeah a lot of people don't understand climate science!

Apparently it’s no longer mitigation, now adaptation. The desire to avoid nihilism at point is tough. I’m pushing 40 and I hope I get 25 more years, family kids are in for it.:(

I see comments like this all the time, but it doesn't happen that fast. You won't notice a big difference in your lifetime, and neither will your children, unless maybe they live in a very low area by the coast. This plays out over hundreds of years.

It's still a serious problem and we need to address it, but I keep seeing emotional reactions that ignore the science and the current predictions.

There's been a difference in the last 15 years... Look at the ocean currents. Look at the hurricanes stalling. That didn't use to happen. Look at tornado alley moving west. Look at the mass migration out of Siberia.[0] If you haven't noticed anything you aren't paying attention, or you're a gas company shill spreading misinformation.

[0] https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/national/climat...

I didn't say nothing is happening, I said it's not the end of the world.

The effects so far are small compared to the direct damage caused by the air pollution itself, which kills over a million people a year.

I don't expect that will change in my lifetime. The predictions are not so dire that it is likely to take a million lives a year.

Over a period of several hundred years, it's a lot harder to say.

At no point is it likely to be the end of civilization. But we could get there if we're stupid enough to keep this up for a few centuries more.

This worldview is hyper human-centric. There are ~7735776725 people alive now. A million less is 7734776725. To keep this population alive billions of other lives are sacrificed. Yes humans and human civilization will be less affected in the short term, perhaps, or at least those that matter: i.e european northern hemisphere types. Short to medium term biosphere collapse will absolutely impact human civilization, but that is way to late for most other species.

The biosphere is not about to collapse from a couple degrees of warming. The earth has been a lot hotter, there was a time you could grow ferns in the Arctic circle.

The 10 degrees warming after the last ice age makes climate change small by comparison. Let's not forget the 400ft of sea level rise. In fact if you look at the climate record the last ten thousand years, the current level of warming is lost in the noise. It will take centuries before it's enough to really jump out on the graph.

Life will adapt and carry on, climate change is possibly only a temporary blip for the earth itself. It may even turn out to be a good thing on long enough time scales, because it's been a little too chilly for comfort here the last few million years. Repeated cycles of ice ages are no joke. If you want to see how bad that can get, lookup snowball earth. Warming is no joke either, see Venus, but a little warming might not be the end of the world.

I'm Canadian, my county was buried under 2km of ice that scoured it to bedrock just as civilization was beginning elsewhere in the world. If you are in the US, you grow your food in what used to be Canadian soil. I'm more afraid of the cold than the heat. People from Australia and the middle east likely have the opposite view.

"tornado alley moving east", fyi.

> Look at tornado alley moving west

I think you mean east:


The parent was referring to the OP’s doomsday scenarios (“kids are in for it”).

That's somewhat like the Aristotelean vs Galilean conceptions of gravity. That is, constant velocity vs constant acceleration.

So arguably, change during the next ten years will look more like change during the last 50-100 years.

> You won't notice a big difference in your lifetime, and neither will your children, unless maybe they live in a very low area by the coast. This plays out over hundreds of years.

...or they live in an area whose fresh water supply depends on current weather patterns or glacier levels.

Even if they don't, the water shortages in such regions could lead to war, and I believe some such regions include nuclear powers. A nuclear war between, say, Pakistan and India over water allocation will probably have serious economic effects well outside just that region.

Europeans have already noticed a "big difference" in the influx of Syrian and Afghani refugees. That invigorated anti-immigration parties, but those parties also advocated for various policies that went beyond immigration. A few million people had a huge impact on politics overall.

Now imagine the turmoil and political ramifications that could spring, even in the short term, from the flooding of Bangladesh and the migratiom of its people towards the global north.

None of which is predicted to happen this century...

Bangladesh already suffers catastrophic floods and is already being exacerbated by human influences: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floods_in_Bangladesh#Coverage_...

Small changes that we'll see well before the end of this century will have huge consequences. Don't be surprised if the country doesn't exist at all by the end of the century.

Oh good, so we have time?

Not sure what you're point is unless to say that this problem is on a long enough time horizon (where the survival rate for everyone drops to zero ...).

Major US cities will see temp increases of 4-6 degrees in less than 30-40 years. That is not "hundreds of years".


> I see comments like this all the time, but it doesn't happen that fast. You won't notice a big difference in your lifetime, and neither will your children

I do already, the weather is much worse than when I was a kid, much drier and the heat waves are harsher.

That's a small difference.

Not really, there's already big parts of the forest dying because of that and it's very visible from the outside.


That’s actually a confirming anecdote FYI, the occurrence of more extreme weather events in both directions

If that's unusual for you, it actually helps prove his point...

I think perhaps you ought to realize how childish the "it's cold outside so global warming is a myth" argument sounds. It makes you sound willfully ignorant, which I'm sure isn't what you intended.

I literally responded to a thread where someone said the world would end in 25 years, someone had a more measured response, then someone used the warm weather where they live as proof of impending disaster. Think about what I responded to.

I'm not talking about current weather but climate in general, your answer is missing the point.

No it's not, but it's completely symmetric to the anecdote they were replying to, which was in fact the point. We've got 6 replies so far saying mikeb85's comment is silly, but only one saying that the comment he was replying to was silly, by EXACTLY the same arguments.

It's not symmetric at all! Describing the current weather is not at all the same as describing an observed long-term trend, with associated ecological disruption.

It's quite evident that it's agenda based rationalisation. It's fine as long as we're spreading misinformation or framing data in a manner that furthers what we think the world should do. Rest of the type of misinformation and framing are dumb and pernicious of-course and need to be vilified.

You’re confusing “weather” with “climate”, that’s a rookie mistake

You're smarter than this, Mike.

No. No it really doesn't.

I wish I didn't have a child, for his sake. The climate makes things like "retirement" really hard to think about... it just hurts to think about his future

That seems like a very dramatic overstatement. Climate change is a serious problem, but hardly past human ingenuity to deal with. It's not like your children will be in a hell world. It'll be warmer, more storms, challenges due to changing sea level and arable lands shifting etc. It won't be a cataclysm but will play out over decades and centuries.

Your child, and your children's children will be fine.

I don't think anyone can guarantee that at this stage.

I don’t have a child, and as someone who makes money by selling my time, retirement is still really hard to think about. Until I have enough money to make money from my money, I don’t think that retirement is a realistic option. And I have enough debt from just living my life that finding that FU point where I have sufficient money is a long, long ways off. Even at my “top 10% of the US” salary.

The tipping point of massive frozen methane bubbles melting and that's it. We better get really good at somehow containing them. Good luck humanity.

Time to use it as fuel for space ships

Urbanization, high-rises and city bubbles might be the answer to survival. Probably also the floating and underwater cities. Everything that protects from the hostile climate outside. It's better to prepare the technology and economy today, while there are still enough resources and manufacturing power.

Looks like Bernie's "false solutions" like geoengineering and carbon sequestration are in fact the only solutions.

It makes me think of stuff I've seen suggesting that release of methane gas bubbles might explain disappearances (of ships, planes) in the Bermuda Triangle.


It's a good time to point out that coordinated global action is required. Trump withdrew us from Paris. Harper withdrew Canada from Kyoto. Russia is a petrostate that will benefit more from global warming than any other country in the world, so look at 2016 through that lens.

Only 40% of conservative Republicans even believe climate change is happening (https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/politics-...)

They will drive us all off this cliff and then expect us nerds to fix it. We should do something first.

> coordinated global action is required. Trump withdrew us from Paris. Harper withdrew Canada from Kyoto.

Neither of those were coordinated global action that will make any difference. "Symbolic" agreements don't fix anything; they're just a way for politicians to punt the problem (if you think it's a problem) further down the road so they can stay in power. Not to mention that none of the countries that signed up for Kyoto came anywhere near meeting their targets (which were already too permissive to make a difference) anyway, and it looks like the same will be true of Paris. The US prefers not to sign agreements that we know we won't keep and that won't make a difference anyway; that's why we didn't ratify Kyoto and why Trump pulled us out of Paris.

The kind of draconian "coordinated global action" that would be necessary to actually stop CO2 emissions is not going to happen; nobody will accept that drastic a hit in standard of living. Not to mention that doing that would condemn all of the currently developing countries that have the most to lose to staying in poverty, which will make it so much harder for them to adapt. The best thing we can do is to create more wealth and bring more people out of poverty, and make our infrastructure more decentralized and robust. That will benefit everyone regardless of what kind of change comes.

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