Even if you don't believe in climate change - which I do not think is a reasonable position at this point - I would hope we can all agree that not having to rely on oil any more is a good enough economic incentive for everyone.
Basically, it is this thinking that makes a lot of people suspicious about climate change. If all things that you would do to combat climate change are things the progressives/environmentalists want to do anyway (increase taxes, more government regulation of industry, more urbanization, more public transportation, etc) and nothing that they would not want to do, people on the other side of the political spectrum have their bs detector go off.
Unfortunately the left is as anti-science as the right when it comes to their sacred cows.
Yeah and it was a good comment without the us v them environmental bait. I say this as someone who supports nuclear but accepts the reality that building a new plant is essentially impossible to supply urban areas now. It has plenty of applications but we mostly live in democracies and even countries with strong nuclear support have been all cutting back after Fukushima, much to my dismay.
Small modular reactors should have a future for remote communities and a few other applications, space especially. The actual tech behind modern modular reactors is exciting. Besides that the game is up for traditional nuclear plants that require decades to be built against horrendous public opposition in the face of a solar or wind farm that can be hooked up in a year for the same price. It's simply not viable anymore.
Russia is huge, China is 80% empty, America is sparse, Australia is 95% percent empty and India has a desert too. Power supply would be an issue but can be solved. (Numbers likely hyperbolic).
Instant solution of middle East problem. Perhaps that's why? Maybe Mideast is what stops nuclear plants, just like saudis, via Citibank, decided Obama cabinet?
Bill Gates is trying to invent some slow wave something reactor needed to make that work but it is not working yet.
I support Nuclear Energy too, but I can see it has difficulty gaining traction for a huge list of reasons, and this is across the political, social and economic spectrum. But basically the need for Nuclear is largely obsolete -- it was the only attractive option when Solar (and Wind to an extent) wasn't so cheap. Solar costs about the same or less, is available more or less everywhere, and has no contamination issues.
Also of very worthy note IMO is that the (electrical) energy supply isn't the whole picture. A good chunk of emissions are from transportation sector and some from industrial processes. There is also advocacy in those sectors (which comes off as 'progressive') simply because of consistency and necessity to achieve a reasonable climate plan. Note that nuclear energy, or solar energy, can't solely avoid incoming disasters.
> I don't see why this needs to be politicized this heavily
One huge reason is that the coincident ideologies of the left can't be taken seriously by those on the right. Or, put another way, they don't believe them.
Specifically, if one was truly serious about the urgency of solving climate change, they would not simultaneously advocate for raising the standard of living of non-Western populations to Western levels, before the carbon footprint required of said standard of living was dramatically reduced first.
Carbon emission reduction right now, with the urgency required to prevent collapse, is fundamentally incompatible with open borders. So when someone on the right sees an open-borders advocate clamoring for immediate carbon emissions reductions, the conclusion is not necessarily that they don't believe the science, it's that they don't believe you do. And the only valid conclusion is that you're motivated by politics, not by legitimate concern for the species.
Progressive/environmentalists are a smart bunch, and the movement has enough history. They figured already what's useful, why and how - now their predictions are getting more visible, have more support. To consider that bs just because somebody figured it earlier than you and now has even more arguments is sad.
"Do what we say or we all die" is also not a great message...even if it's true (which, personally, I doubt).
Or perhaps you're taking the other rational position - that even if we did what they say, we'll still die...
Oh, and the joke boils down to no such thing. It is very explicitly 'even if we were somehow wrong about climate change, there are so many other huge advantages to getting rid of fossil fuels'.
Anyway, my point was simple. If you want to sell people on "huge advantages to getting rid of fossil fuels" then sell them on that. Don't use a stick when you could use a carrot. This stuff is political. It's about persuasion, personal relationships, talking to people like they're not idiots (even if they are), showing respect, and so on. It's not about being right.
What is expected is: increasing, and increasingly damaging weather events yoy. Destruction of a bunch of viable agricultural land, and abrupt change in more. Destruction of a lot of low lying infrastructure close to water. Secondary effects include mass migrations and health crisis in some populations affected by previous. etc. Things get more expensive and painful all over.
Almost all of the policy making in this area so far, globally, has not been evidence based (or even evidence acknowledging). That's the real thing to change.
There isn't a clear cut answer to any of this, just risk management and mitigation. But the action so far has been almost entirely "delay, this is hard". And so the problem, and probable impacts, gets worse.
It's a little like a nation-state version of ignoring your credit card debt because you don't want to think about it. And then arguing around the dinner table about how bad it is without anyone having looked at a statement in years.
Because it amounts to "you have no choice, look at these graphs, do as I say" and people don't like hearing that.
You have a scientist's bias against politics. Most people on HN have it. But we're stuck with politics and politics is about persuasion. You have to convince people and people are not rational automatons. You don't convince people by "showing them irrefutable evidence". First, because no evidence is actually irrefutable and second, because it frames the conversation in terms of "I am smart, I have knowledge, I have research, you are ignorant, you need my knowledge to choose correctly". That's not going to convince people even if it's true.
Finally, it's a good thing that politics is about persuasion. The only alternatives are worse.
It doesn't, though. I'm not saying you can take the politics out of something like this, or that you should. The last thing I am is a technocrat. But policy makers should be working from good information when they can.
What I am saying is that the politicians, for the most part, are choosing avoidance and the arguments being made for the most part are superficial and often naive, both for and against. It's up you and I (and everyone, at least in a democratic society) to insist they hold themselves to a higher standard and actually do the work.
The (actual, not media) science, for the most part is not contentious - but that doesn't actually mean that the scientists know what is best from a policy point of view.
However, the politicians are mostly operating in a way that avoids too much contact with what is known. It's the easier path, but incredibly unlikely to lead to anything useful.
This is the best advice to all sides.
I have found in the past that the best way to convince people is not to try to "convince" them that my "view" is correct but to listen to their views.
I call this being a "Cardboard engineer". It does not work for everyone.
It is an economic incentive, but whether it's "good enough" depends on the costs of the transition- which are certainly dependent on how quick it needs to be.
Also, a good chunk of plastic can be produced from natural gas, using ethylene instead of the naptha from crude oil.
I'd like to hear less statements of "our house is on fire" and more "I'm getting a bucket of water". Let's concentrate on the doing...
And I work with fairly educated people! My team is all engineering, ranging from undergrad to Ph.Ds
Climate change deniers would just attribute that to randomness.
How much "actual" proof would be needed to convince the public that we're there already?
All of these things have set snowball effects into motion already.
It's a human perspective problem. Those born in 2020 will not feel the climate as substantially worse in 2040, and even for those born in 1980, 20 years is a long time to adapt your expectations.
Climate change "skeptics" and deniers do not get a veto on the future. "Centrists" who use them as an excuse are not fooling anyone anymore.
No, at least not in the US. Until very recently the Republican Party and the business community at large denied it was even happening. The current President of the United States is on-record calling it a "Chinese hoax", and has spent his term in office tearing apart as many environmental regulations as he can. There is an entire segment of the US populace that follows this exact line, that either climate change is a lie or it's nothing to worry about.
That's a very large part of why "the human race as a whole not doing anywhere near enough to combat it", that a good chunk of the leadership and the rich in the world's largest economy and most influential nation are devoted to denying or downplaying the problem.
People won't get up and go get a bucket until you first convince them that their inaction will lead to catastrophic fire damage. Fire burns. Smoke suffocates. But climate change, despite being less reversible, is not so readily identifiable.
The only way someone could not - is if the messaging was so over the top and such doomsday that it turned people off of taking it seriously. I hope we don’t get there!
In order to confirm or deny the statements above you need to invest about ten hours of your time to get to the facts. The IPCC report's Working Group One output is a good start.
Your comment seems condescending assuming I haven't researched this field. I have invested hundreds of hours. I have reviewed several IPCC report, have downloaded raw data and plotted it etc. A lot of the things being stated are blatant lies and easily disproven. It has been going on since 1970s.
Here's letters to the President back in 1972 claiming we are approaching an Ice Age, not warming:
The source of that letter is NOAA itself. They have since removed the page but internet never forgets:
After the wide consensus from scientists in 1972 of an "ice age" within 5 years in 1977, they suddenly started "global warming".
Since you state Australia, I will guess you are referring to the fired from last year which media reported as the worst on record and 60 minutes did a segment with the same. They even had Michael Mann on who declared it the worst bushfire on record. But that's easily disproven. The 1974-75 is the worst bushfire. Here are 3 different sources:
> In 1974-75, lush growth of grasses and forbs following exceptionally heavy rainfall in the previous two years provided continuous fuels through much of central Australia and in this season fires burnt over 117 million hectares or 15 per cent of the total land area of this continent.
As they state, 15% of the total land was on fire and 117 million hectares were burnt. The 2019 fire is only 18 hectares.
Timothy Wirth, President of UN for 15 years and the senator who brought in Dr James Hansen (Director of NASA Goddard Institute for 35 years) back in 1988 which led to the formation of the IPCC is on record on how he sabotaged the air-conditioner the night before the testimony and also called the Weather Network to know when the hottest day would be to setup the testimony on that day:
The same Timothy Wirth is also on record from Rio Climate Summit:
> “We have got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.”
Archived from The National Center for Public Policy Research:
If you dig a bit deep into the data and IPCC reports you will notice that their "2016 is the warmest year on record" is a blatant lie too.
1. LINK the exact IPCC report you found blatant lies in
2. copy in your correspondence with the authors of the papers
3. copy in your own data that exposed the lies.
You won't, because you cannot.
Look up the temperature anomaly charts between the 1999 and 2000s reports and you will notice yourself what they did.
I have many more but clearly you are more interested in making condescending and ad hom attacks than debating. Not worth engaging in further debates.
I am begging now.
Let's just say we shifted our demand for lots of the climate change contributors. From what I can gather the top contributors would be liquid fuels, solid fuels, and gaseous fuels. Right off the bat we know we can cut coal and shift to other technologies. But in the case where we want to shift our liquid fuel consumption, things get tricky. For example, we might be able to move our entire car fleet to electric, but we're still way far off from doing that for planes. So at some point in the future, we'll still need jet fuel, but we'll have reduced our demand for gasoline tremendously. They come from the same source and happen as part of the same process.
So what happens when gasoline costs negative dollars?
Honestly its much less compliated than internet debate artists make it out to be. #1 coal, #2 oil, #3 gas. Cement and agriculture/land-use are marginal things we can worry about in 2040. For right now, its one two three. Coal, oil, gas. Anyone derailing into other things is failing to quantify and prioritize.
Also as you point out coal is basically already solved, its purely a combination of regulation and cost-curves of the alternatives. Oil can be 80% solved using electrification today, and hopefully over the course of the next 20 years that turns into a 95% solved thing via improved batteries or fuel cells or both.
The last 5% of oil is, as you point out, jet fuel. It is by far one of the hardest pieces of the puzzle to solve. I think the short version is that the price of air travel is going to have to double to both dramatically reduce demand for it and to fund carbon-offset measures for what remains. Of course you can never tell upper middle class people this, they lose their shit at the thought of not being entitled to vacation and be tourists anywhere they want as much as they want.
The third part, gas, is going to be harder than coal and oil because its so damn cheap right now. We can speculate a lot about what could replace 50% of it, but the other half is a lot tricker.
However, again, this is a prioritization and timeline constraint problem. Solve coal NOW. Solve oil over the course of the next decade. Gas we'll circle back and see what we can do in like 2035. We'll have our hands plenty full solving for coal and oil now.
Its already completely technologically and economically feasible to get rid of 95% of coal, 80% of oil, and 50% of gas over the next 10 years in america and 20 in the overall world. That will reduce us from ~40Gt/year down to around 5Gt/year. Then we figure out how to phase in negative-emissions tech.
In Europe at least, I think the working and aspiring middle classes would be harder hit. The low end of air travel has become ridiculously cheap really, with pan-continental flights with Ryanair or whatever costing less than a train across England.
Slap a flat-fee carbon tariff or even just higher duty on it and it'll be a different market.
In the short term as demand decreases I imagine governments will ramp up taxes to keep the price steady or climbing in order to avoid encouraging people to increase consumption.
Here's the breakdown within the US by economic sector, and then the Transportation sector broken down by vehicle type:
Clothing and red-meat are particularly acute impact activities of wealthy western lifestyles, but its very hard to top cars. The very thing they do is oxidize hydrocarbons.
> but its very hard to top cars
I haven't found cars specifically in your links and I doubt that private cars are one of the biggest pollutants.
Also, stressing that I am not countering your point, CO2 is not the only factor of course. The clothing industry, as well as the chemical industry, is responsible for pumping lots of toxins into the water, which is also bad.
If you click the second link there will be two large pie charts on your screen.
The first shows total US greenhouse gas emissions by sector, in which Transportation is 29% and Agriculture is 9%
The second shows a breakdown of Transportation by vehicle type. The largest part of which, at 59%, is "light duty vehicles", which is the term for everything from a moped to a pickup truck.
59% of 29% is about 17%, vs agriculture's 9%. Making cars roughly twice as "bad" as farming from a greenhouse gas perspective.
Mitigating climate change (by replacing ACs, finding alternatives to concrete, adding a carbon tax) from the current +6° trajectory to +5° or +4° or +3° or +2° has benefits for human health, cooling, crops, political stability, energy production and many more, all associated with high costs in case of no mitigation.
Why don't very large financial institutions that plan out for the next 20-40 years speak up?
I know this area well and this group somewhat (no current affiliation with them anymore). I think we are entering the adaption phase where forecasts lose viability. Not because the science is wrong, but because the human element is unpredictable without defined geography.
In the meanwhile, here's what I think about this story specifically: https://dilbert.com/strip/2017-05-14
They smell money to be made, so they are jumping on board.