That article could say absolutely anything for all I can see....
I definitely think a lot of the climate alarm is hyperbolic and misrepresentative, but not so much in the sense that it isn't a problem as that it's a problem that will only become obvious to laypeople long after the chance to prevent it from killing a lot of them is past.
If he wants to convince me, he needs to do a lot less talking about how virtuous he is, less talking about his new book, and more showing me real data and scientific results.
Also I think it's interesting that the only positive review he includes is from Richard Rhodes. I have never read anything from Richard Rhodes, but the second amazon review of his book Energy: A Human History has this to say 'the author is highly skeptical about renewable sources like wind and solar, waxing instead about the lost promise of nuclear'.
> The most important thing for reducing air pollution and carbon emissions is moving from wood to coal to petroleum to natural gas to uranium
This seems to match my intuition.
> Greenpeace didn’t save the whales, switching from whale oil to petroleum and palm oil did
What was the motivation for that switch? Petroleum/palm oil was cheaper?
> 100% renewables would require increasing the land used for energy from today’s 0.5% to 50%
That seems astonishing, not just that it would require so much but that our current use is already so much area.
According to : The depletion of some whale species to near extinction led to the banning of whaling in many countries by 1969, and to a worldwide cessation of whaling as an industry in the late 1980s.
This does sound more like Greenpeace (founded 1971) being the reason than switching to petroleum (no reason to expect much use for whale oil past WW2) to me. But surely Greenpeace is not the only reason.
For some phantasmagorical stubborn up yours world, various nations continue to hunt them. Sea shepherds have been fighting that sort of crassness.
Greatest in the sense of absolute scale, or with sufficiently long planning horizons, perhaps. But I doubt that any quantity of attainable prioritization will deliver any of that value, on the scale of the time we have before climate change starts inflicting drastic damage on our overall stability and way of life.
Put another way, I wish Musk the best. He's absolutely mad, and a terrible person to have as a superior, but for all of that... he's accomplishing far more than I think anyone had right to expect. I think it will still amount to too little as a "climate change lifeboat", but if we adequately mitigate our immediate woes while we wait, and his successors can maintain his vision, drive, and disrespect for petty things like work/life balance, they might actually take us somewhere a few generations down the line.
I don't understand how setting up a colony on Mars, space, or the moon can be cheaper or more sustainable than the equivalent infrastructure on Earth, delusions of public figures aside. I also find it alarming that these aspirations are so frequently repeated by others without any critical evaluation.
Even in the face of catastrophe like another that caused the Great Extinction Event.
If it's on another world, it is obviously already in a pretty inhospitable environment that is expensive to access, but that environment is unlikely to get catastrophically worse at the same time as the earth, and the costs of building it can be reasonably estimated.
If you take out a 500k life insurance policy, if you take into account the time value of money it will on average cost you more over the course of your life than the policy actually pays out. You are technically losing money by having the insurance. However in exchange you put a known upper bound on the amount that you lose as opposed to the person who makes the rational choice to forego the policy and assumes unlimited risk. Likewise beefing up the one basket we keep all our eggs in is almost certainly more economical than getting another basket, but it is inevitably still a single point of failure.
Presumably the martian back-ups would return to earth as soon as the danger of the calamity had passed, so you still get all the benefits of Earth's habitability afterwards. Only the pre-catastrophe society needs to build and support a mars base.
I disagree. To the extent that you can stockpile supplies to survive on mars through the nuclear event, moreso it is easier to stockpile supplies to survive in underground bunkers.
> And it's not just nuclear - if you are going to have a single point of failure, it has to survive every possible thing - it needs to be nuke proof, germ proof, chemical proof, earthquake proof... Redundancy is much cheaper.
I agree, and it's easier to design separate Earth shelters to withstand different catastrophe scenarios than elsewhere.
> Presumably the martian back-ups would return to earth as soon as the danger of the calamity had passed, so you still get all the benefits of Earth's habitability afterwards. Only the pre-catastrophe society needs to build and support a mars base.
Likewise for Earth-based shelters.
And let's not forget that there are far more failure scenarios and it's harder to recover from them for a shelter based in Mars than for one on Earth.
> Humans are not causing a “sixth mass extinction”
> The Amazon is not “the lungs of the world”
> Climate change is not making natural disasters worse
> Fires have declined 25% around the world since 2003
> The amount of land we use for meat — humankind’s biggest use of land — has declined by an area nearly as large as Alaska
> The build-up of wood fuel and more houses near forests, not climate change, explain why there are more, and more dangerous, fires in Australia and California
> Carbon emissions are declining in most rich nations and have been declining in Britain, Germany, and France since the mid-1970s
> Netherlands became rich not poor while adapting to life below sea level
> We produce 25% more food than we need and food surpluses will continue to rise as the world gets hotter
> Habitat loss and the direct killing of wild animals are bigger threats to species than climate change
> Wood fuel is far worse for people and wildlife than fossil fuels
> Preventing future pandemics requires more not less “industrial” agriculture
Beyond the literal truth or falsity of the claims, how do they fit together into an argument that shows climate change is not an existential threat to human civilization? Last I checked, there was broad scientific consensus that climate change was real, caused (or, at least exacerbated) by humans, and would have massive impacts on human civilization. And then there's this person coming along and saying "Nahhh, none of this is a problem."
Who should I believe?
50-80% of atmospheric oxygen are estimated to come from algae and cyanobacteria in the ocean. This seems pretty clear cut. - http://www.greenlineprint.com/blog/where-are-the-lungs-of-th...
1: Illegal wildlife trade, 2: Habitat destruction, 3: Invasive species, 4: Pollution, 5: climate change. While I could see an argument that the ordering is incorrect depending on scope, the numbers from 1-3 is pretty clear from an short term perspective as being the major issues right now. - https://www.wanderlust.co.uk/content/biggest-threats-to-wild...
The other ones I am more unsure about. I would had guessed that Netherlands status as a rich country came from their past as a colonial empire, but it might be correct that it is because their current status as an massive exporter of farmed food. That statement is likely scope dependent.
With global population trends, even if average meat consumption is starting to decrease, the amount of livestock raised will still increase. I actually found it difficult to find a good measurement, but this site seemed to be credible https://ourworldindata.org/land-use
This seems to be untrue, at least in the US - https://www.epa.gov/climate-indicators/climate-change-indica...
Which is it? Are we not causing any issues, or are we destroying native habitats?
In the end, I don't really know who this guy is, but for all the fundraising he did as a teenager, I don't think he's doing environmentalists any favors anymore.
Edit: Here's an oldish article: "Climate Scientists Agree on Warming, Disagree on Dangers, and Don’t Trust the Media’s Coverage of Climate Change" https://web.archive.org/web/20100111104946/http://stats.org/...
Edit 2: "In 2007, Harris Interactive surveyed 489 randomly selected members of either the American Meteorological Society or the American Geophysical Union for the Statistical Assessment Service (STATS) at George Mason University. 97% of the scientists surveyed agreed that global temperatures had increased during the past 100 years; 84% said they personally believed human-induced warming was occurring, and 74% agreed that "currently available scientific evidence" substantiated its occurrence. Catastrophic effects in 50–100 years would likely be observed according to 41%, while 44% thought the effects would be moderate and about 13 percent saw relatively little danger. 5% said they thought human activity did not contribute to greenhouse warming."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_consensus_on_climat... (Edit²: emphasis added)
Incidentally, why are the choices "catastrophic effect," "moderate effect," "relatively little danger," and "humans aren't contributing to climate change, anyway?" Why is there nothing in between "moderate" and "catastrophic" effect? That seems a little suspect to me.
At best they seem to be arguing against some cultural sub-trends, such as those who argue for “organic farming” or are “anti-nuclear”, or those who make some mistakes such as overestimating the contribution of the Amazon to global oxygen production.
Perhaps some of the more breathless claims are overstated, but none of that materially changes the climate change argument.
I wonder what he is trying to achieve.
"In reality, the above facts come from the best-available scientific studies, including those conducted by or accepted by the IPCC, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and other leading scientific bodies."
I would like to see those studies as well; wish the claims were better sourced.
It's till 2015, not till 2020, and the explanation for the fall is 4 paragraphs in. It seems to be a move away from slash and burn agriculture and towards more modern, permanent farming.
Just from skimming about the Holocene extinction, with mountains of documented evidences from every continent, denying its existence seems untenable. I'm not even sure why the author started with this line, because it instantly cuts his reliability by 90%.
Yes, there is credible evidence, at least for that one.
Some of these seem true(ish) but misleading - isn't habitat loss often driven by climate change? And as far as I know no one is advocating a switch from fossil fuels to wood fuels; the fact that wood is worse is orthogonal to the fact that fossil fuels are problematic and nuclear, wind, and/or solar are often a better solution.
We’re so deep into a world where “truth” is merely an instrument of debate, bent and shaped into whatever point is trying to make, that I don’t know where to start...
LOL, we can all relax and look forward to a prosperous future then.
Can someone help me with this? I just moved and have both a fireplace and natural gas furnace. I had intended to supplement the furnace with wood heat in the winter. In what ways is wood worse than natural gas?
I can imagine a few but I’m not sure they are right:
Local air quality
Removal of trees
Neutral greenhouse gas emissions (?)
Abundant (in my area)
Natural gas disadvantages:
Greenhouse gas emissions(?)
Natural gas advantages:
Better local air quality than wood(?)
Quick quack suggests 400-800 trees per acre is possible. That actually seems pretty sustainable in a forested area.
They environmentalists and their activism appears like a cross between Big Tobacco marketing, PETA and the Westboro baptist Church with a dash of Scientology thrown in for good measure.
Tell me about that other planet colonization thing again ;)
In all seriousness, who here really thinks we will have mass deaths, upwards of 10% of the population of the earth in the next 10 year timeframe from global warming? What about 15 years? 20 years?
How about 5%? What odds are you proffering and how much would you like to wager on it?
Any example of this?
Making the situation out to be the end of the world, short term, is how you lose the support of the general public.