We're all in some form of climate denial right now. Even if you are able to acknowledge that climate change is happening, you likely aren't being realistic about how unavoidable its impacts are, or the full magnitude of those impacts.
I still see people talking about life in 150 years as if it will be a simple continuation of the "progress" we've seen in the last 150, completely oblivious to the way that progress was achieved and the inevitably and unavoidable consequences of it.
When scientists and politicians publicize scary, doomsday numbers that aren't ever realized, the public's natural response is to be more critical of the things those people say in the future. That sort of thing results in climate deniers, anti-vaxers, anti-maskers, and a whole slew of conspiracy theories.
If you want people to take climate change seriously, you need to publish conservative numbers and ring the bell when things end up worse than you predicted. Include a word of caution that things could be worse when you publish the conservative numbers, but don't start out with the worst-case scenario if you want to be taken seriously in the future.
Of course you can be too conservative with your predictions, but I don't see a lot of that except as a knee-jerk reaction to the overly-alarmist predictions.
The truth is that most (Western) people simply don’t care that much.
> Many scientists have attempted to estimate when the Arctic will be "ice-free". Professor Peter Wadhams of the University of Cambridge is among these scientists; Wadhams in 2014 predicted that by 2020 "summer sea ice to disappear," Wadhams and several others have noted that climate model predictions have been overly conservative regarding sea ice decline. A 2013 paper suggested that models commonly underestimate the solar radiation absorption characteristics of wildfire soot. In 2007, Professor Wieslaw Maslowski from the Naval Postgraduate School, California, predicted removal of summer ice by 2013; subsequently, in 2013, Maslowski predicted 2016 ±3 years.
Looks to me like there have been plenty of overly-alarming predictions about a Blue Ocean Event over the last two decades.
You actually expect them to nail it down to the year? lol
The last prediction from that quote was made in 2013 and predicted 2016 +/- 3 years.
Inaccuracies aren't the issue here. The problem is that well-intentioned scientists and politicians are making overly-alarming predictions that keep eroding the populations trust when they keep failing to come true. How do you convince someone to believe you when you say climate change is a real, serious, and immediate threat when they have been lied to about the subject over and over again?
But if your takeaway from that is that scientists are overconfident and wrong, that is insane, because the important thing to know about sea ice is that at its yearly minimum, its volume is a third of what it was in 1980. No matter how you cut it, it's almost gone.
He said they hurt the public trust in climate science when their predictions do not reliably come true.
Some scientists are going to sometimes be wrong about things. It is impossible for them to be scientists otherwise.
OP just said that conservative predictions are better than aggressive ones, as they're more likely to come true and thus build trust.
It is not possible to have an accurate mean prediction, and also to have no predictions above the mean.
I just pointed out that you were arguing with something other than what OP said.
my takeaway is that every years hundred models are given birth, every year later the model fitting the data best survive, and two year later when that last model prediction fail, a new model from the previous that that predicted the change better replaces it, in a never ending cycle of bullshit.
the models go both way: without a predictive model that can hold water, how do you know which parameter to tune to resolve the climate crisis?
As it is, I don't think even the over-aggressive calls have "totally missed the mark"; what we're seeing now says maybe they were off by a few years. In terms of global risk analysis around climate change, that error doesn't really matter all that much. Calling to address a major tipping point a few years early is arguably a feature, even.
Maybe it's too slow but the end is near for fossil fuels, it's either because humans will end up extinct if we keep burning it at the current rate or because it's not economically competitive anymore.
As corrupt and as rotten as politics is, there is a limit to how far you can push for coal and fracking before it just becomes silly.
That'll happen anyway with carbon taxes. Or at least it'll cost a lot more and many people will do less of it. Until we have carbon taxes, you could choose to do it voluntarily to help out.
> pave forests with solar panels
I don't think anyone is seriously suggesting that.
> What happened to nuclear
Expensive and difficult to build. But if you like it, France, the UK and India are still doing it. And you're always free to advocate for it. "They oppose nuclear" isn't a great reason to stop working with people on solving the problem of climate change. Why be so prescriptive in solutions by saying "nukes or bust"?
You mean the thing that's already gotten us into this mess?
> fair revenue-neutral carbon taxes
Cheers to that. A lot of the people you dislike politically support those. Work with them.
> You mean the thing that's already gotten us into this mess?
What got us into this mess is geo-moving-fast-and-breaking-things. Everyone chasing short-term profits and dumping externalities on everyone else.
I don't get the hate for geoengineering - i.e. planned, large-scale interventions. Sure, it would be better to not need it, but the way things are heading, we very well might.
Think of geoengineering as chemo for the planet - a very blunt treatment with bad, large-scale consequences, that we apply anyway, because the disease it fights is even worse.
Unintended consequences. Unless it's direct carbon capture, there is no guarantee we won't create worse problems.
"Geoengineering" is itself a very generic term.
> What particular consequences are we talking about,
They would depend on the particular geoengineering technique we're talking about.
The whole point of unintended consequences is they are not or could not be anticipated before the fact.
Other than direct carbon capture i.e. geoengineering that's a direct inverse of the problem we have right now, I'm not confident we can predict everything that can go wrong with any given geoengineering solution. Even direct carbon capture is likely to have some serious downsides at scale we haven't yet considered.
It's still worth trying to pursue a more popular version of a carbon tax because of how efficient they are, but we need to acknowledge their political shortcomings. Perhaps we could pair a carbon tax with an annual distribution of revenue raised to everyone - a carbon bonus - so people see a direct benefit too instead of just the tax.
Regardless we need to explore other solutions too, since it's not going to be enough to stop the climate from destabilizing further.
Pretty much this. Use it to fund UBI maybe. The Canadian province of British Columbia collects a carbon tax and reduces income taxes by a commensurate amount.
Preventing climate change from getting worse requires coordinated action at the national and international levels. There are many proposed solutions, but so far none of them have been implemented and it's unclear our government systems are sophisticated enough to do so, to the detriment of us all.
Incidentally, I think the primary driver of state-level bans on single use plastic straws was to reduce plastic waste, especially in the oceans.
Carbon taxes also allow solutions to be arrived at organically vs via fiat which also reduces opportunity for corruption when the pricing is transparent.
But a ideological behavioral change ("eat less meat") enforced on everybody is much more political (ideological) than just implementing the required nudges/incentives (less carbon) and allowing everybody to adjust their behavior as they see fit.
Everything involving money is political.
For example, in the 50s and 60s we had rapidly rising levels of smog and other particulate matter pollution in the US, and scientists warned that bad things would happen if we didn't get this under control.
We did get it under control, and indeed massively reduced it, and the bad things did not come to pass.
And now, bringing up those predictions from back then and saying that since they did not come to pass we shouldn't worry about current predictions on climate change or do anything about them is a staple of climate change denial arguments.
Checked Asthma rates lately in the United States? 1 in 8? Higher? That is not normal, and indeed a "bad thing".
Isn't that basically saying "just pray that it's not that bad, and that you can react fast enough if it is bad"?
This seems to give up on any rational attempt at handling risk solely because you're giving in to the least rational instincts of the herd...
Yes, people are bad at dealing with probability. No, that doesn't mean that we (and especially leaders) don't have a responsibility to do better.
No. It's basically saying "do not erode the public's trust in you by making frightening predictions that probably wont come true".
> Yes, people are bad at dealing with probability.
I rarely see climate change projections tempered by probability. I'd be much less concerned about overly-alarming predictions if they were published with an associated probability and margin of error.
> I rarely see climate change projections tempered by probability.
Honestly, if this is true, then it seems like the only thing you have ever read about climate are popular press articles. The error bars on every single prediction are on every graph or study that climate scientists produce. Mean sensitivity itself still has large error bars, but beyond that the amount of emissions we produce is inherently unpredictable. It is not possible for a climate scientist to say with any certainty how much coal we are going to be burning in 40 years.
> Warming expert: Only decade left to act in time (2006)
> (1989) A senior U.N. environmental official says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000.
> He said governments have a 10-year window of opportunity to solve the greenhouse effect before it goes beyond human control.
At least to me it seems the greenhouse effect now is out of human control. I do not see mankind preventing it from raising much higher, for years to come, before we'll do anything about it.
> Those articles may still prove to be correct.
The greenhouse effect is totally human controllable. You don't even need to stop using fossil fuels or resort to absurdities like industrial carbon sequestration. Geoengineering used to be a thing; if climatologists believed in their models, they'd be able to come up with a solution that works. Painting Australia white, pumping sulfur dioxide into the upper atmosphere; whatever. Someone could at least make a suggestion which doesn't involve everyone living in a yurt and eating gruel. One becomes suspicious people whose only solution is the latter are millenarian cultists rather than science minded.
Maybe if we lived in mile-high ecumenopolis mega cities instead of 8-lane-gridlock-highway-connected-cookie-cutter-5-bedroom-McMansion-suburbs we wouldn't have to live in "yurts" and eat "gruel".
Yes, actually: if I'm supposed to take "scientists" seriously, the only reason we listen to them over astrologers is they're supposed to get things right, not make shit up. Why is this confusing to you? Do you think there is some other reason to listen to "scientists?"
They are supposed to evaluate scientific theories by checking testable predictions to find out if the theory is the correct explanation about how things work in our universe. Which means that scientists try to proof themselves wrong most of the time.
A prediction is also often multidimensional and can be accurate about what will happen, while being off about when it will happen. This article
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prediction uses the solar cycle as an example of that under the Science category.
What a horrible perspective.
You can't have it both ways. Either "the science" predicts something or it doesn't. Which one is it?
The very article you link points out that scientific consensus is 2040-2100, and the author of the paper is quoted as saying that, because of the variance in his own model, 2030 is a more reasonable estimate.
> the other two
Refer to time of action, not time of consequence. There's a ~30-40 year delay between greenhouse gas emissions and fully realized warming. A ton of gas released today doesn't cause warming tomorrow. Because these targets haven't been met, even if all emissions stopped today, enough ice would melt over the next century that the Solomons, Marshalls, Maldives, and other low-lying island nations will be swamped.
>> governments must adopt an alternative scenario to keep carbon dioxide emission growth in check and limit the increase in global temperatures to 1 degree Celsius
>> If the world continues with a “business as usual” scenario ... temperatures will rise by 2 to 3 degrees Celsius
That's reality, inevitable 2°C raise even if humanity left planet today, 4°C–5°C raise with a “business as usual” scenario.
If only people would devote half as much energy to debunking denialists as they do scolding 'alarmists'.
Back when I was in high school, the eco-panic 10 year prediction was that oil would run out and the world economy would collapse. It didn't. I see some of my classmates on facebook from time to time. They remembered this instance of crying wolf and updated their priors accordingly. Now they ignore legitimate climate worries. It's unfortunate.
If the current trend continues and nothing done by 2030 the repercussions will be so severe to the environment they threaten future organized human existence.
So basically we still have time to avoid the worst outcome, the loss of the ability for organized human existence. Not that we will all be dead by then.
Presumably, she is arguing that hyperbolic proclamations are a valid way to get people to listen and engage in political discourse.
Of course, I presume that by "serious people" you are referring to scientists, but it definitely creates a mixed message from politicians- you know, the ones setting government policy.
At what point is it not hyperbole, but actual serious discussion? Should we treat everything as hyperbolic? All this does is confuse the problem (making it more or less drastic than it actually is).
In my lifetime, "serious people" have often made predictions about drastic things and were completely wrong- and they had models to support them! This is true about many things beyond climate change as well. Why should this be any different? Why should I believe that I should act, or believe that there is still time to do so? Is this a new hockey stick graph?
If you don't invest a lot of time sorting through all the BS, most people I think end up flipping a coin, picking a side and just going with it.
"The world would end by 2030", like obviously there is no way this can be true. No matter what happens the world will not end in a biblical sense.
"People made predictions and were wrong in the past" is a great point.
Why should you believe you should act or that you can and do something about it? I don't know great question! I'm sure someone has explored the morality of avoiding the worst case scenario caused by human induced climate change.
Anyway, my point was that we are better off avoiding such hyperbole and overstating the case; it biases people towards inaction, especially when the worst case is consistently promoted and consistently fails to occur.
We could (theoretically) end global warming this instant by turning off every electrical appliance and not burning a single molecule of fossil fuel. How many people would die in an hour, without life saving medical equipment or heat in their homes? A day? A year?
When you discuss the morality of avoiding the worst case scenario, you still have to weigh the consequences of the actions (or inactions).
If the doom-and-gloom worst case scenario is consistently wrong, and that is the one that gets talked about most frequently, then people are going to avoid the most serious consequences that would occur by drastic action to head off the worst case scenario- especially when that means putting off personal sacrifices.
I'm not American, climate change is not an American problem it's a global one. It's completely out of the scope of the conversation to require me to explain how you are deficient in your understanding of the nuance of what was actually said by the Congresswoman.
The conversation of Climate Change, Global Warming, whatever has been going on long before AOC even ran for Congress so I really don't see the point you and the original poster I was responding to are actually making by invoking her as some boogie man.
Yes sure talking hyperbolic doesn't help and can turn people off. Ok agreed. Excellent points all aroud.
Cortez said exactly that though. You could argue that she isn't a serious person, but lots of people do take her seriously, she is a very public figure.
Exact quote from 2019: "The world is going to end in 12 years if we don't address climate change".
"Millennials and Gen Z and all these folks that come after us are looking up, and we're like, 'The world is going to end in 12 years if we don't address climate change, and your biggest issue is how are we gonna pay for it?' " she said.
Even a very middlebrow newspaper like USA Today was able to figure out that she was characterising a political viewpoint rather than making a straight scientific assertion, as shows by the use of single quotation marks.
It's misleading to strip away that context, just as it would be accurate-but-misleading if I trimmed her quote down further to say 'Ocasio-Cortez: 'Don't address climate change.''
The thing is, she put it out there. It put the notion in people's minds. If we don't fix it by then, we'll be unable to avoid a mass extinction event. That was the whole point of the green new deal (along with a grab bag of other social justice items).
When we are talking about how people can become overly distressed, and then jaded when their fears don't come to pass, that is exactly the kind of rhetoric that makes the situation worse, not better.
There is always going to be some % of the population saying something is a terrible idea and their concerns aren't bein treated seriously enough, like the minority of people alleging that wearing face masks and social distancing is tyranny. One should certainly make a few good faith efforts to get them on board, but after the 3rd or 4th irrational or bad-faith rejection, it's OK to sideline them.
Apparently scientists had been seeing temperatures dropping for quite some time.
(I also remember winters having more snow than they do now).
Later all that changed to global warming.
I also point you to this: https://www.skepticalscience.com/What-1970s-science-said-abo...
All the data points to anthropogenic global warming and the fundamental phenomena has been understood for well over a century.
> Apparently scientists had been seeing temperatures dropping for quite some time. (I also remember winters having more snow than they do now).
> Later all that changed to global warming.
The thing is, "global cooling" was almost exclusively a phenomenon of the popular press. It was a minority view among climatologists all along. wikipedia has a good summary: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_coolingp
There would be Ice Age if not human activity. Needed specific data to see the trend, not available to layman. Today we do not need to get far away to see climate change. This is science, believing your eyes.
Of you claim something exceptional, you need exceptional proof. Such as the mentioned world-will-end claims.
If you are merely saying "there's a guy who says..." it's a whole lot easier, you just have to point at where he said it.
I'm not making any claims, just pointing out that if someone indeed says that the world will end soon, they gotta do the heavy lifting.
No, not good.
Just because it will make people take climate change seriously, this is not, by any measure, good. It's a dangerous and irreversible change and if most people want to deny climate change or downplay it, it shouldn't take a catastrophe to change their minds. The data is there, just because people find the prospect of awful things happening in 2030 not scary enough, doesn't mean we should be happy these things will happen sooner. COVID probably changed a lot of people's minds on healthcare and politics. Would we classify that as 'good' as well?
And why do you think I'd be happy if bad things happen sooner?
Imagine an aviation engineer being "too conservative" with potential dangers (i.e., accept too much risk) because if you raise an alarm and it turns out to be not as bad as predicted, you will have cost the company $$$ and hurt your career. Would you call that a good thing?
Fundamental attribution error tempts you into believing that it's OK to lie for a good reason. Others see it differently.
Those are not reasonable comparisons. Climate change predictions amount to milestones on our slow journey to oblivion. Ideally we want to be spot-on with all our predictions, but being on the "too conservative" side doesn't immediately put human lives at risk.
"The earth goes through natural warming and cooling cycles."
"This year has been abnormally cold."
"They said X thing was going to happen years ago, but it still hasn't."
It's hard enough to address these legitimate doubts without creating even more ourselves.
It should also be acknowledged - perhaps first and foremost - that we are also all in a very real form of climate ignorance. Being "realistic" about the impact of climate change requires believing our best science as it stands today, but also understanding that the science is incomplete and certainly wrong in various large and small ways.
Simply put, if climate denial leads to inaction, then that's the bigger problem. Also, climate change is an existential threat, the degree and vigor we use to respond to it should definitely be strong. Debating over which models are more accurate or not is mostly a waste of time.
"What if it's a big hoax and we create a better world for nothing?"
We should definitely be arriving towards decarbonization, but the reality is that there are other priorities. Climate change is a problem the world is facing, along with malaria, poverty, conflict and more. We absolutely should not prioritize getting to zero emissions above all else. Bombing coal plants in other countries would make great strides towards getting to zero emissions, but surely you agree that such efforts go too far.
> Current climate policies: projected warming of 2.8 to 3.2°C by 2100 based on current implemented climate policies;
> No climate policies: projected future emissions if no climate policies were implemented; this would result in an estimated 4.1 to 4.8°C warming by 2100
Countries claim carbon emissions have to be reduced to zero . I do not think Eco terrorism would work.
What may be an average of two degrees Celsius might be four or five on land and one and a half on water.
And that is generally trotted out as an argument that we should ignore the facts. If it "sounds" bad to work towards the most accurate understanding of an issue, we should be striving to change that bias, not surrender to it. Otherwise we veer towards dogmatic interpretations that inevitably become false or contradictory, which I would argue is ultimately a larger deterrent to swaying hearts and minds.
Nobody is making that argument. The issue is that the most accurate understanding of an issue can not be realized until the issue is fully actualized. In other words, if we wait for the global atmospheric temp to rise 1.5 degrees Celsius to ensure our accuracy, it is far too late to do anything about it.
Uncertainty exists, yes, but that uncertainty is mostly in timescales and consequences of environmental outcomes, not the environmental outcomes themselves.
Having said that, I think that even the most optimistic interpretations of climate change are compelling enough to warrant immediate and dramatic action. But we should all strive for the most accurate interpretations of the science, which means being flexible and not dogmatic.
It's going to be real bad. REAL bad. All the evidence points towards that. Most people are in denial about how bad it's going to be.
Many people will have kids because that's all they can do with their lives and the kids won't get the (easy) chance to become a great scientist, leader or similar. It's sad, many children will be subject to completely idiotic parents and so much potential will be lost.
If everyone who was worried about climate change made their contribution by not having kids, then the next generation is just going to be all kids raised by climate deniers. If anyone should be having kids, it should be the ones who are worried about the future!
I don't plan to have children anyway, but I've concluded for instance but there's no point in making sacrifices today in the service of enjoying a comfortable retirement, because by that point western society will no longer be any fit state to provide for a conventional "life of leisure" retirement.
In general, catastrophe has to happen and impact many people first before they acknowledge the danger (and then move to Facebook to complain about politics not warning them).
People living in mild latitudes hear about the warming but experience unusually cold summers and winters due to phenomena like polar vortex disruption; the claim may be hard to take at face value.
Warming in longer term if left unchecked, sure, but “climate destabilization” could be a more fitting term for the time being.
See https://xkcd.com/1321/ for how what we call unusually cold today used to be normal.
Also just attributing climate change as the root of every problem.
Extra hot summer? Climate Change.
Extra cold winter? Climate Change.
Unusually moderate summer? Climate Change.
Unusually moderate winter? Climate Change.
More than usual wildfires/tornadoes/hurricanes/blizzards? Climate Change.
Insect apocalypse? Climate Change.
Sharks washing up on the beach stabbed by sword fish? Climate Change.
It puts you in denial when literally every issue is attributed to climate change.
It's like this board I worked on that only had 128 MB RAM. We were very tight on memory. Anytime an unexplained issue came up, low RAM was blamed by default even if it turned out later not to be the root cause.
Do you not see the logical connection? How if global homeostasis system that regulates temperatures and weather across the entire globe suddenly destabilizes, you start to see changes in things like local temperature, weather etc?
How is that unreasonable? What kind of cause are you looking for exactly? That it's done by aliens?
Scientists have published hundreds of thousands of pages of specific RCA for specific things.
Ocean acidification is really scary (and fast) on its own but it's just one out of many apocalyptic problems we face.
Then I hang out with my four year old. She doesn’t understand racism, politics or climate. But she knows that she really likes everyone, respects others pronouns and likes sharing what she has.
There’s hope. As cynical as I am, there is hope. And the fact that you feel so strongly fills me with as much hope as watching my little one learn about the fucked up planet she’s inheriting.
Why can't we just look at each other and imagine the child that person once was, then maybe we'd care more about others like your 4 year old does.
Everyone with power ends up losing it, or acquiring some strife, maybe if we cared less we'd find out it wasn't that much of a concern anyway.
I mean, do people chose power or does power choose them? Would you appreciate it if you had it?
I’ll edit this comment at some point but for now, thank you friend. This is beautiful and poignant. :)
Edit - I notice you edited your reply but I’m happy I got to read the original. You’re a beautiful writer.
On a negative note, I think most people convince themselves of being much more grown up than they actually are. Really it's far easier to just get meaner and more calloused to survive while suffocating the core self. Maturity is more like a deliberate and careful edifice built with a lot of work, self-reflection, and self-forgiveness. It's not a given that just getting older does that, other than the inhibitory part of the brain getting better at restraining the emotional part after adolescence. (Usually, unless trauma happens that's sufficient to get stuck in a particular development stage.)
We may not be able to solve the problems created by our species, but if we learn to live with respect for the planet then we can at least know we are doing as much as we can with our own existence.
As hard as it is to generalize, I'd say it's because sometimes our needs aren't getting met, particularly our need for safety. When we feel like we're in danger, it's very hard to appreciate wonderful things. ("This person feels like they're in danger" is also a decent way to broadly sympathize with other folks, along the same lines as "imagine the child that person once was.")
Sometimes this happens, sometimes not.
First, my kid can be a real little shit. :)
Second, I think about that a lot. My Dad and I have a close relationship and sometimes I wonder if that’s because we are personally compatible or whether there’s something biological that’s just beyond our consciousness. In terms of my kid, I wonder the same thing (particularly when she’s being a little shit).
I hope the truth is somewhere in the middle. I’m her dad so I’m very biased in her favour. There is an entire biological side that I don’t think my conscious brain has direct read access to. But I still hope that my little girl is perfect and stays this wonderful kind little angel.
There's hope because 4 year olds aren't racist and "respect pronouns"? I hate to break it to you, but no children are born racist and they will believe and copy whatever you tell them whether it's religion, racism or alternative pronouns. None of this puts food on the table, though, does it?
My (privileged) five-year-old has emotional tools that I didn’t have until I was 25.
I do think we’re generally getting better at raising empathetic kids. It’s not uniform, but it’s better.
They lived in a time where kitchen appliances were a new thing, most work involved manual labour and lots of time. Getting used to hardship and not whining about it was their way of getting through it. Tired? Tough!
There is a balance to be had which I usually sort by "needs" and "wants". There aren't many needs and the rest is a luxury.
Rights are an ideal, privileges are a material reality.
To put this in perspective: Hitler was once a sweet 4 year old. Stalin was one too. Mao? Yup. Putin? Sure he was. Everyone on this planet was once that sweet 4 year old not grasping any of what you mention. And yet, look where we are.
Your despair is probably a result of being fed emotionally manipulative stories from the news and social media for too long. The real world has never been better, and it hasn't stopped improving. Try looking at some of Bill Gates's writing for inspiration. That's somebody who's not afraid to see the bright side of life while not ignoring the dark.
Umm. I'm pretty sure that drought, mega storms, wildfires, famine, and mass migrations of refugee populations (just to start) will spawn horrors in the 21st century at least as bad.
I mean, consider that some of the worst events in the 20th were essentially triggered by the great depression. As a civilization, we're going to have to withstand stressors far more severe than that before the 21st century is out.
There's sufficient evidence that our response to climate change in the past was migration, sometimes by force.
1. Read about the Permian Triassic extinction event (The Great Dying). That involved somewhere between 1200 - 2000 ppm CO2. We're emitting CO2 at least an order of magnitude faster than what led to that event. We still have at least 800 ppm to go to get to that scale, but if the permafrost decides to start belching everything up, we'll be heading there very, very quickly. Feasibly by the end of the century.
2. Do the math on how much excess carbon is in the atmosphere right now compared to the ice core data from the past 800,000 years. That ranged from around 180 - 300 ppm that changed gradually on the scale of thousands of years. That range is what humans have lived in for the existence of our particular species. Now, take the extra 120+ ppm and determine just how much material that actually is. How much mass. Now, do the math on how much of that carbon an average forest can absorb. Or any of these direct air capture technologies.
There is so much data out there. It's easily available. It's far easier emotionally to just plaster over this with general skepticism and blind faith in technological progress though. You can sealion all you want, demanding other people produce things on a platter for you to digest, but you're not going to really understand until you look at it directly anyways. You don't have to be a climate scientist to crunch some of the numbers.
Your optimism is the result of living through the era of apparently limitless  energy and resources and the resulting development it has enabled. But the books don't balance. We can't possibly go on on this trajectory without the house falling down around us.
 not actually limitless
That's 2-3 years worth of GDP growth right now.
It is an absurd fantasy to imagine that the only effects of global warming in the next hundred years will be economic contraction (though note that economic contraction YoY itself is almost unheard of in the US and Europe, and will bring dire consequences).
Considering a few years ago people were worried about the problems of jobs being automated away, you might imagine a little climate change creating extra work for people would be good for social cohesion.
But it's all just a bunch of bozos with PhD's and masters degrees.
Steve Keen's done some excellent debinking.
TL;DR: Asssumming one can translate different lattitudes' GDPs to that of a planet undergone global climate disruption is ... an exceedingly dubious proposition.
 covers some estimates of how prevalent wet bulb temperatures of >35C (the upper limit for a healthy adult to survive outside in the shade) will become. Any heatwave in this area will kill many vulnerable people and will stop almost any outdoor economic activity.
These are just 2 easily quantifiable numbers that will directly make life much harder in the next century (and the problems won't stop in the century after that). The second order effects can also be imagined.
Also, Shenzen is only ~20th biggest city in the world , and its age is the exception, not the rule. The majority of the world's most populated cities are older than the countries they are located in, many of them being continuously inhabited since prehistoric times. Also, while creating a new city and populating it is possible with somewhat limited human harm (though rural->urban migration has its human impact, to be sure), deopopulating and moving a city of tens of millions (say, New York City, which sits at 10m elevation) is an entirely different scale of human displacement.
Since we'll probably continue to have improvements in safety, diseases, etc. between now and 2100, the world should be a safer place for humans by then. So it doesn't make sense for people to worry their kids will suffer a bad world due to climate change. They'll most likely enjoy a better world than us despite climate change.
Did you mention preshistoric occupation to suggest that continuous occupation is necessary for a city? That surely helps but if an area has to be vacated, people will obviously go somewhere else, probably another place that was already occupied. Cities renew themselves anyway within the climate change kind of time frame. Buildings usually aren't designed to last more than 50 or 100 years. People obviously don't last longer than that either. So cities of 2100 will likely contain mostly new buildings and people that don't exist today, while today's ones will be gone. They'll effectively be whole new cities. I don't see why that renewal can't coexist with a gradual move inland. Not starting from scratch, just putting new development slightly more on the landward side of the city than before.
I am sorry, but this is just delusional. Perhaps the biggest catastrophes will be averted, but only with great effort that our children and grandchildren will have to endure.
Bear in mind that civilization will collapse without the great effort of people doing their jobs and keeping everything working, climate change or not. So great effort is going to happen regardless. It's not a tragedy that people work.
Make no mistake: there is absolutely no doubt that climate change, on its current unchecked path, will end human civilization as we know it. That is not to say that there won't be a human civilization in 100 years, but there is no way for the current system to resist flooding of some of the world's largest cities and other densely populated areas, probably physically displacing more than 500 Million people, heat waves that will kill a healthy adult in the shade in much of the warmer regions, extreme weather events becoming increasingly common and more severe, and all of the consequences of these items - drought, famine, wars over land and drinking water, massacres to contain the migration of the hundreds of millions of people that will be displaced.
And of course, essentially every dollar of GDP growth that we currently make is only increasing the problems above, and will continue to do so on the current path.
The only way to avert the catastrophe is to drastically change our civilization today - to stop burning any fossil fuel or methane gas today, literally (yesterday would have been better), and take on all of the major economic overhaul that entails. Every day we continue to burn fossil fuels, to raise livestock in industrial numbers, to burn down forests etc is increasing the magnitude of the catastrophes to come (it is too late to completely avoid catastrophe, we can only hope to make them milder).
It won't change the facts.
Better for whom? And why do you think Bill Gates is any kind of authority on this subject? Read some of Derrick Jensen's writing instead.
Being a prolific author doesn't mean much to me and neither does being an environmental philosopher in this context. Someone like Peter Singer definitely is an authority on environmental ethics, but on the effect of climate change/the ecological state of the world I don't see why anyone would consider him an authority.
So your criteria for who is and is not worth listening to is "rich man who gives a lot of money to charity." Wealth is not some kind of superior substitute for expertise or insightful ideas. Unfortunately this seems to be a popular delusion today; that does not make it any less stupid.
In real terms, it has been stagnant or increasing, especially as people who were living well off the land have been forced to participate in the monetary economy or die of starvation.
And even by the world bank standards , the only gains have been because of China (a planned economy that has ignored any american or european economic orthodoxy), and to a lesser extent, India, which has mostly advanced by freeing itself from the burdens of colonialism (before colonialism, it was one of the richer areas of the world). In sub-Saharan Africa, extreme poverty has actually been increasing.
According to your source, only in absolute terms, not in relative terms. Ideally, both should go down of course, but it does mean a smaller percentage of Africans live in extreme poverty today than they did 25 years ago.
I implore you to look up how China’s economy functions. It is successful because they threw away the majority of the “planned economy” bits of communism and have a capitalist economy. They have a stock market, citizens invest in companies they choose, starting a business doing whatever you want is easier there than many places in the US, businesses fail all of the time. None of those are features of a planned economy.
> and to a lesser extent, India, which has mostly advanced by freeing itself from the burdens of colonialism
It has little to do with that and more to do with making themselves globally competitive in many sectors (IT and outsourcing being obvious ones). They also operate under a capitalist economy that fosters these successful projects.
> In real terms, it has been stagnant or increasing, especially as people who were living well off the land have been forced to participate in the monetary economy or die of starvation.
Funny how people throw out actual concrete definitions and then say things like “In real terms” without providing any kind of definition. Maybe start by defining that.
Furthermore, the amount of people who were “living off of the land” are included in the 1.90 figure measured by the world bank. That’s not based on receipts at the grocery store or tax returns.
Finally, the number of people “living well off of the land” (who just were fucked if they got meaningfully suck btw) is vanishingly small compared to how many were “living malnourished off of the land”.
Countries that moved from a planned economy to capitalism under the IMF and WB's guidance have generally rushed to privatize their industry, have accepted and dutifully implemented all international IP treaties, have opened up their arms to foreign investors and sold their industries to them, and are almost all in much worse situations than China, with no hope of regaining the lost ground for now.
For India, I will only say one thing - India would not have been an IT powerhouse if it had been under colonial rule. The British wanted cotton and spices and other raw or lightly processed materials from India, and that is what it would have been forced to do - same as the path the American colonies rebelled against. Industrializationa and high-technology was for the mother land, not the colonies, in the horrible economic principle of the 'competitive advantage'.
Related to poverty, you're right, I probably should have given a definition. Extreme poverty means not having access to one or more of the the basic necessities of life - water, enough food not be malnourished, enough shelter not to die of hypothermia or heat, and access to medical care to survive the most common diseases in your region. If you have only these basic necessities and nothing else, you are still poor, but not living in extreme poverty.
From what I understand, the monetary threshold for these should be somewhere around 15 dollars per day to get out of extreme poverty (note that this 'income' includes begging, access to communal resources etc). There are of course many opinions on this number. However, the 1.9 USD value is pitifully low, and you can easily check that yourself: please think about what you can buy for 3 USD in you region each day, without any kind of borrowing, begging, living off the land, sharing etc (as those are already included in the number). Would you consider yourself to not be in extreme poverty?
Note that if we look at malnourishent, the percentage and number of people who are malnourished has stayed roughly the same since we started collecting data (1981), after increasing steadily up to ~2000.
And about people living off the land, they are indeed included in the data since 1981, but not in the data since 1800, as often presented.
Edit: and yes, you are right that people living off the land were usually doomed if they got significantly sick. But this is also true of, for example, everyone living on minimum wage in the US today, so I fail to see what's improved.
No it’s not and it takes a shocking amount of willful ignorance to suggest otherwise. If you become very ill in the US you just show up to an ER and they fix the problem. The ER cannot refuse you because you are poor. You deal with bankruptcy/hospital negotiations after. This brings me to my next point.
If you are on minimum wage in the US, there is Medicaid (and additional government health coverage in some states like California) for low income households. Not only do you get health coverage at minimum wage, it doesn’t even bankrupt you if you’re making use of the resources available.
If you’re living off the land, you eat some contaminated fruit and you die. You get a bad infection, you die. You get a bad gash, you might bleed out or get an infection and die. Bad water, giardia, maybe dead. These are all trivial for anyone to get fixed in the US and they are effectively non-issues (for people who actually seek treatment).
Additionally, entire classes of problems that plagued nomads (contaminated water, hookworm, etc) are gone because of drinkable tap water (a few fucked up communities not-withstanding) and sewage systems.
Your equivocation between those living off the land and a minimum wage US worker indicates to me you’ve never experienced low income life nor realize how many benefits of society you can still enjoy. Public education, libraries, OTA TV, parks, heating assistance (in the north at least), food stamps, Medicaid, discounted housing, etc.
If you can’t see how that’s better than living off of the land, I suspect your beef is with the lifestyle of modern civilizations and no amount of income will satisfy your comparison.
Secondly, you can live off the land and still live in a country with a functional health system. I'm not discussing nomad hunter-gatherers here, just people who don't live off a wage, like traditional farmers and rural tribes (who still have money from trading their goods for example, and can live pretty wealthy lives, but contribute disproportionately little to GDP).
Overall the point was that people can and have been living outside of any standard of poverty for a long time in areas that nominally have very little GDP per capita, and are often getting counted as extreme poverty in stats older than 1981.
Related to medical coverage, I was thinking more along the lines of cancer or serious chronic diseases, not acute poisoning or broken limbs. The kind of diseases that not only cost serious money to overcome in a privatized health system, but also destroy your ability to work and earn money when you're whole livelihood is dependent on a wage - even if Medicaid can cove the direct medical expenses.
Everybody must die from something so how could anybody possibly not be in poverty by this standard? Do you only count diseases which can be treated with enough money?
If a new cancer treatment was discovered but it was incredibly expensive, perhaps requiring a team of specialists to provide exclusive continuous care to the patient for the entire rest of their life, then almost nobody could afford it and suddenly the entire world would be plunged into extreme poverty through lack of access to it. So you obviously have to accept that not everybody can have access to all possible lifesaving medical care if the world doesn't have the resources to provide it. There are already some personalized cancer treatments that come close to that. These are a net improvement for healthcare but they look like a regression by making poverty relatively worse.
You're probably right that extreme poverty is increasing if you keep broadening the definition as people get wealthier.
okay ... are you ready?
> She doesn’t understand racism
give her and her friends blue t-shirts and an equal number of other kids red t-shirts. do this for several weeks. lo and behold the basis of racism unfold.
racism is an inherent human feature which can only be overcome by education. something adults have to provide for children.
It likely also depends on how prominent the color coding is. Just a marker would probably be too abstract for children to be factored in. But I'd question your claim if children are clad differently in an obvious fashion like different shirt colors f.x.
The study you posted does not describe children bullying or forming subgroups based on wearing a color shirt.
Doesn't mean speaking French is innate or inherent.
it's taboo to say that - but in fact it's essential to overcome racism which seems to be the psychological root of many social issues at the moment.
Why did these guys cut off those other guys' heads in Paris or in Nice? B/c they feel like they have to protect their group ideals against people deemed unworthy to live or even die in dignity. I wouldn't call this "racism" - but I firmly believe that the psychological thinking pattern is fundamentally related and entangled.
Also interesting unpopular food for thought is that not just Murcans keeping African slaves is very much racist but also the reason for why one African tribe kept slaves from another African tribe and then sold them to American slave traders who shipped them to the new world.
I disagree. We can accept that we have a feeling of impossibility and still continue engaging in behaviors we predict to have a more positive outcome than any others. After all, have you ever been wrong? I have.
Occasionally the bulk of our actions create emergent shifts. It seems we will have to make adjustments and there may well be horrid consequences but the severity of those remains under our adjustment.
I'm surprised to read this on Hacker News, one of the homes of "impossible" successes.
You could try participating in politics! It's not exactly fun, but it's a lot better than dying.
In response to a sister comment, realistically, to address climate change, we would need to:
- build roughly 300 GWh of grid storage worldwide, lithium iron phosphate seems a leading contender although sodium-[sulfur|nickel] has the obvious abundance advantage
- replace gas heating systems with heat pumps and district (waste) heating
- implement carbon capture at all steel/concrete production plants (or less likely use low-carbon processes)
- replace fueled vehicle use (most of which is personal cars) with electric
- build some amount of non-polluting power stations, I'm not sure what exactly but by now it's the easiest part
- I'm not sure exactly but maybe you can replace torch manufacturing with electric arcs and lasers or something?
- also some carbon capture unfortunately probably the crushed olivine thing I'd guess
Someone's probably made a projection for the cost of this but it's useless with any shift of this magnitude.
> Nobody has a realistic plan for addressing climate change.
Those are technologically feasible, theoretically workable, and at least somewhat reversible.
However, they don't really take human nature into account. Megasatellites for solar gain control would be an intensely scarce, valuable resource, and a de facto superweapon - "agree to our terms or you'll never have good crop growing sunlight again."
Nobody would be willing to cede or share control of such a system to someone else. Wars would break out quickly, and no deployed system would go undestroyed for long.
The other plans I've seen seem problematic to me either morally ("first world gets to keep its tech but you guys who are bootstrapping with carbon can go DIAF"), technologically ("We think there will turn out to be some way to capture carbon super-efficiently that we haven't found yet"), or reversibility ("whoops, we put too much dust in the atmosphere - guess we're starving three billion people for the next year or four, folks").
I'm not saying there is no possible solution - just that I haven't seen a realistic one myself.
My understanding is that a lot of developing regions are using their carbon stores to improve quality of life and lifespan for their inhabitants - bad as coal may be for your lungs, it's not as bad as having no reliable energy for things like sewers.
Hence my comment saying "...if you're bootstrapping with carbon you can go DIAF."
A lot of us are aware that there are all sorts of self-reinforcing feedback loops that we have not found yet, and those will definitely influence the events. But models cannot account for hypotheticals.
This is nonsense, food production on a per-capita basis is increasing and population is leveling off.
Things are just starting to change now. Our food production levels are the result of previous efforts. Not future efforts dealing with future changes.
That's what we're worried about, not "the current steady state trend is currently going up, it's all fine!"
Food production per acre has increased by ~4x over a century, but that's the only 4x we ever got and the only 4x we'll ever be getting. We've been at diminishing returns for decades but will soon peak and experience lots of bad effects from unsustainable practices.
As the grandparent stated, "there will be casualties". Sure, I'm quite certain humanity will recover, and probably end up better off than we are now, but that doesn't mean the chain of events leading up to that that won't be hell.
Aggregate data is much more relevant than anecdotes.
The theory that global warming is going to lead to food shortages in the relatively near future is not an out-of-the-blue flight of fancy on the part of random HN commenters; a UN panel in 2019 warned of this possibility, as did a 2020 IPCC report (pre-pandemic, no less), as did a 2016 study in the Lancet; this is just from a cursory examination of the Google results for "food shortage predictions global warming".
Extrapolation of historic data trends isn’t always a good way to predict the future either.
> It's always a shame when an intelligent person chooses to ignore the sacrifice every one of their ancestors made to bring them to this point
Ok please don’t project your creepy literal-Darwinist ideology on other people. The parent comment literally said “one of many reasons.” I am not having kids because my “genetic imperative” is about the species itself, not my specific genes, and I sincerely don’t care about whether or not the Ojnabieoot Dynasty makes it to 2100. The idea that I’m “ignoring the sacrifices of my ancestors” is idiotic and unnecessarily insulting.
> to know that generations of people eked by just for you to play video games all day would be a truly disappointing conclusion.
Seriously what in the world is your problem? You don’t know anything about this person. This comment is pure toxicity, completely undermines the point I think you are trying to make, and adds nothing to the conversation.
"Darwinism" is an "ideology" now? I thought believing in evolution was actually in-vogue! Do you actually not think intelligence is heritable, despite every study into the subject confirming that, as one of the most-reproducible pieces of social science research? Do you think we'll be better off if the smart people live lives of hedonism while only people who aren't as Climate Enlightened produce all the children?
I am not engaging with your blatant eugenics and ignorant Redditor’s understanding of intelligence and heritability. Needless to say, two commenters who don’t want kids does not mean that the unwashed hordes of dumb dumbs are going to take us over.
Edit: some people interpret this as saying that not wanting children is a genetic trait, but what i was trying to say was that it's a counterproductive idea which will eventually burn itself out, and there are many smart people who are not suffering from it. So we won't run out of smart people.
Your comment about “smart people will have lots of kids who will save us” [paraphrasing] is ironically invalidated by Elon Musk himself, whose COVID tweeting and commentary is pure fact-free ideology (most infamously here: https://mobile.twitter.com/elonmusk/status/12407546572631449... but he’s still going: https://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-and-kids-wont-get-...) It is worth emphasizing that these comments are just straight-up indefensibly dumb.
I was trying to say, that the idea itself is often passed to children, via non-genetic means, and it will burn out the part of population bearing it.
But that's not fatal for humanity because there are many smart people who have multiple children, so independently of exact percentage of heritability of intellect we are not doomed.
And regarding to the snide comment about Elon, independently of his opinions on any issues, he have done enough to prove that he is smarter and vastly more useful to humanity than average people.
Our descendants might have terrible lives for a thousand generations and it would be worth it if it means humanity can get to better times on the other side.
Would it be worth it? There is likely no net loss for the universe if we or even the entire Earth disappeared overnight and that might be better than thousands of generations suffering painfully over thousands of years.
I was questioning your assertion that centuries of "terrible lives" (which, to me, seems a regression for most) would be an acceptable price to pay for "better times" later on. Compared to the past 1000 years where life has, in the main, improved gradually generation after generation, I feel this assertion at least deserves to be questioned.
*But no not necessarily, but at the same time I had a lack of autonomy in regards to those decision made.
If you look at the history, every discovery was made due to very rare and specific combination of factors, and the only way to create such combinations is by trying many life paths in parallel.
Perhaps concentrating attention on two children makes it that much more likely that they will have longer, fulfilling lives, and grace us with their eventual wisdom, rather than all three grubbing in the rubble of a collapsed civilization.
Sure, the odds of either path don't change much based on the single decision of whether to have another child, but every little bit helps, right?
Watching half of your kids die before age of 5 from something a set of pills cures now? Your wife risking her life with every delivery? Dying of very minor wounds, when flu is killer that covid can only dream about?
I could go on like that for very long time... No, our life isn't a misery and toil in any western society, unless we make mistakes and chose such a path. My isn't for example, nor is most people I know.
Its kind of sad to see how weak we have become. 100 years ago a mutated flu killed 100 million people which was significant chunk of global population, right after the most horrible war mankind has ever experienced, and people got through. We can get through almost anything. Its properly sad what's happening. As a nature, travel and adventure lover my heart weeps, but I have no doubt mankind will get through this. There is still so much beauty out there. I am not naive anymore we will get much wiser while getting through this, but somehow we will manage. Till then, taking it day by day, enjoying the little things life so often gives us, enjoying friends and family... that's still a great life to live. Only few in the history had such a luck. I am definitely not terrified for my kids.
Maybe instead of using your imagination and whatever garbage you saw in a Hollywood movie, you can read accounts of how native people lived in places like North America up until a few hundred years ago.
Sad. Sorry to hear it. It's always a shame when an intelligent person chooses to ignore the sacrifice every one of their descendents will make, just so that they don't have to risk the potential of having any hardship themselves.
I wrote two (I think) of the words in my comment, the rest were written by the person I was replying to about someone deciding not to have children.
We now close our eyes to stuff that does not bother us directly like devastating destruction of the amazon, attacks on armenia, several dictators using covid to assert unlimited powers etc, all of which would deserve global military intervention imho and thus wars, but do not, makes it a matter of who you ask if this is ‘worse or better’.
Agreed, over all it is better for ‘everyone’ but we have a solid 80 years to mess this up and turn the tables. Hope we do not but I for one do not think it looks good; this state is fragile, not robust.
We have the money and technology this time around to prevent things, but not sure if we will. Handling of Covid and the many dictators, racism, immigration issues etc are not good signs we learned much from 100 years ago. Covid being the most obvious (spanish flu followed the same curve); let’s see how the rightwing/populist will be handled in the coming 10 years to see if we even can learn.
I think we are about to see a huge insolvency event in the next few years that will further destabilize the economy on top of everything. A huge demographic shift is coming with the boomers retiring, and damn, they're getting out at just the right moment as we inherit the problems they started and/or ignored for decades. If you are in your 30s or younger, we are the world's biggest suckers.
1. First, you are correct, the Earth was much hotter in the past, and I haven't seen anything convincing that global warming will lead to a fundamental "runaway greenhouse" effect a la Venus that makes life as we know it on Earth unsustainable.
2. That said, a huge climate change in a relatively short amount of time could easily lead the the deaths of billions of people, with a B. One third of the human population lives within 60 miles of the coast. Rising temperatures will lead to huge portions of the planet that are currently densely populated that will no longer support humans. The resulting migrations, "resource wars", and overall increase in extreme weather events (more hurricanes, more droughts, more floods) will lead to death and misery to a huge portion of humanity.
And regardless, if you think moving a third of humanity to vastly different lands will be hunky dory smooth sailing, you should study history.
I'm waiting for someone to figure out how to use solar + hotter temperatures + seawater to give us desalinated water
This does not seem likely, the bar for a region being "unable to support humans" is very high. People already live in cities that need to support themselves with food from elsewhere, and worldwide calorie production per capita is increasing.
A huge portion of our farming is currently unsustainable. Yes, we are producing more right now, but this production is on a clock. Even without any change in climate we are screwed. Look at how many places in the world are currently undergoing water system collapse. California, a huge crop producing state, has areas that have sunk nearly 30 meters because of pumping too much water. Those same areas are highly dependant on bringing in water from long distances away. Now add unstable weather patterns the the propensity for longer droughts and tell me what you think will happen?
We are not dealing with a climate change problem. We are dealing with
A long term water supply problem
A soil salinization over vast areas problem
A soil decarbonization problem over vast areas
Increasing temperatures that are pushing our current high yield crops to their limit problem
A globalized transportation system that will quickly spread crop diseases problem
Humanity is playing russian roulette with these issues. We will get a perfect storm one of these years, for example across the midwest US being hit by a drought and crop rust and we could see a near complete failure of our corn harvest. We are talking about the potential loss of 750 million tons of calories that will rock the world to its foundations.
Sounds like a cautionary tale to our current situation.
I feel like the problem with climate change is that by the time the effects get so bad that everyone will be on board to actually put a significant amount of resources into prevention and mitigation, it will be too late to do anything, because there is a time lag between ceasing emissions and the climate stabilizing. Additionally, all the greenhouse gasses you have already emitted are still in the atmosphere so just stopping emissions will only stop the heating up (if we are lucky) and not automatically result in the climate returning to "normal".
I hope this doesn't come across as overly-aggressive, but it seems to me like you don't really understand much about how the Dutch lived below sea levels for centuries.
Yes, over many centuries, they have built all sorts of contraptions in order to gain more land from the sea or lakes. But this is expensive, takes up a vast amount of skill and planning and is only feasible in certain terrain. The Netherlands is also a small and very rich country. To believe that the whole world can do this is complete insanity.
Huge swaths of the globe will experience fatal web bulb temperatures multiple times a year by the end of the century. Very clearly this makes a region "unable to support humans".
Furthermore, a lot of the areas that will suffer from fatal wet bulb temperatures do not have the wealth to provide AC to everyone. This will drive mass migrations of people on a scale we have never seen before, destabilizing neighbouring countries (or more likely, leading to mass murder).
Finally, this is another positive feedback loop: more AC required -> more energy required -> more severe global warning.
An example of a climate effect that nobody mentioned is ocean acidification. It turned out that if you add CO2 to water, you get carbonic acid. This melts calcium carbonate at the bottom of the sea. The buffering makes the pH of the oceans relatively constant no matter what CO2 levels happen to be.
Unfortunately that buffering takes place on the order of thousands of years. Which is fine when CO2 slowly increases in level. But when it rises suddenly, as it is doing right now, the oceans turn into a mild acid. Mild, that is, except for corals and shellfish whose shells dissolve. And anything that depends on them. Which, given how ecosystems connect, is pretty much everything in the ocean.
Already, 3/4 of coral reefs in the world have experienced bleaching event. Similarly mass die-offs of shellfish have been widely reported in fisheries. Future projections are..bleak.
All of this from a level of change that would have been fine if it was spread over 10,000 years rather than 100.
Something like 40% of humans worldwide rely on fish as their primary source of protein. What happens when there's no habitat to support that food source? Mass disruptions and migrations.
So yes, the earth was warmer before, but that warming happened over geologic timeframes that allowed ecosystems to adapt and change. 100 years is long on human timescales, but it's an instantaneous disruption on geologic timescales.
And despite the convenience of your neighborhood supermarket, we are not that detached from our ecosystems. The empty shelves at the start of covid should have been a wakeup call that our supply systems are still interconnected.
If we didn't need to eat, we wouldn't be worried very much about global warming. I do need to eat, though, and I'd rather avoid having to eat global warming deniers when things get rough.
The earth was warmer in the past, but it also didn't support planet-scale agriculture of hyper-specialized, high-yield grains that are expected to feed 8+ billion people.
Moving our agriculture north doesn't work either, because of the poor quality of soil in what is currently the tundra/taiga.
If you have a handful of magic beans that will grow a magic beanstalk, that will be resistant to the temperature and weather and soil changes caused by global warming, sure, by all means, share it with us, and I'll stop worrying. We don't have that handful, though, and I'm not keen on hope-based planning.
Norway got good enough at growing things in greenhouses to be considered a breadbasket. Norway. I think you severely underestimate human adaptability.
2. You may be adaptive and want to move to some better place, but you're also just another penniless would-be immigrant with a big house loan in the country you want to leave, you don't speak the language, so what makes you think you'd be welcome in that better place?
That's always a good idea if you are an individual, and not a business.
2. I'm a penniless would-be immigrant? No, we are both captial-rich citizens of a capital-rich country in a capital-rich world capable of deploying enormous creativity and resources at incomprehensible scale to solve practical problems. Including this one, which doesn't actually require very much creativity or resources in comparison to our capabilities and needs. People predicting the doomsday love to downplay this side of economics -- the good side, the one that works. Their enormous pile of failed predictions should remind us to keep some perspective. Actual penniless immigrants? Yeah, they're going to be a problem, a big one, both in a humanitarian sense and in a cynical political stability sense. But is this the end of our civilization, or of human civilization? Not by a long shot, and claiming that it will be is crying wolf to such a shrill degree that it's an embarrassment to the cause.
It's hardly surprising that such fine land becomes a breadbasket, and it's not proof that it can be done anywhere.
And you're not capital-rich if your capital is a home in an area people want to leave, and your country isn't capital-rich if people there see no future. The fine infrastructure of your former home is worthless in the eyes of the visa applicants in the country you want to move to, because they, like you, don't want to live there.
And this is assuming much at all happens. I've been watching this issue for over 30 years and no longer believe they can predict with much accuracy at all. I was quite an alarmist in 1990 but not any more.
Imagine writing a program to model this. With the interrelated variables (more CO2 means plants grow faster which uptakes more CO2. More heat means more evaporation, more small cloud cover, which means less heat. Industrial output means more air particles etc etc), the flux and all the various unknown factors (what will the energy output from the sun be in 50 years?). You mess up one small thing or make a bad assumption and it blows up. I honestly don't know how any rational person has much faith in the granular predictive power of this at all if they stop and think about it for a bit. Models are good to see how stuff works. Models at this scale to predict? Highly doubt it.
That being said, man does influence the climate to an extent it is clear. We should be cleaner. We should get off fossil fuels in an orderly fashion as they are filthy anyway. But, we don't have "12 years left to do something!". That is and always has been complete bullshit.
It's most especially annoying to hear the latest iteration of projections based on tenuous models touted as "fact" and anyone who doesn't believe is some kind of conspiracy theorist. The continual stream of failed predictions from the doom promoters is reason enough to be suspicious. The earth warms and cools. With or without us.
Finally, to all the 20 somethings turning red and mashing downvote right now, you will live long enough to see. In 30 years things will not be significantly different. Florida will still be there. There will be no mass climate migrations. The polar ice caps will still be there. There won't be a huge increase in anomalous weather events. But there will probably still be a loud group of people proclaiming "We only have 10 years to DO SOMETHING!".
It's happened numerous times before.
Consider the impact of ecosystem-related consequences others mentioned on habitability and food production. Once mass migrations and food shortages start, and starving migrants show up at the borders of higher-latitude/elevation countries in amounts orders of magnitude larger than before, what do you think will happen? Will these countries, worrying about how to feed their own citizens as crops fail due to weather anomalies, open up the borders and accept doubling their population? Will the migrants just accept being refused to enter? In the meantime, powers will be jockeying for mining rights of newly-unfrozen, but still not habitable lands. With all that pressure mounting, how long it'll take until someone starts shooting, someone else shoots back, and we'll have a WW3 on our hands?
If climate situation degrades fast enough, we'll wipe ourselves out way before the changing weather does.
1.5 million people emigrated out of a population of around 8 million.
"Of the more than 100,000 Irish that sailed to Canada in 1847, an estimated one out of five died from disease and malnutrition, including over 5,000 at Grosse Isle, Quebec, an island in the Saint Lawrence River used to quarantine ships near Quebec City. Overcrowded, poorly maintained, and badly provisioned vessels known as coffin ships sailed from small, unregulated harbours in the West of Ireland in contravention of British safety requirements, and mortality rates were high."
So some of them travelled thousands of miles while literally starving.
You can look at the map at https://www.thirteen.org/dutchny/interactives/interactive-ma... to see how much land was added. Most of lower Manhattan is built on what was ocean in 1609.
It's an engineering problem, and NYC can afford to solve it.
We weren't here then
Earth warmth comes from CO2 blanket, we can't suck it from atmosphere, we hardly can reduce CO2 production worldwide.
Also his "best case scenario" is humanity wiped from Earth ten years ago, not base case for me. "Optimistic scenario" is if world acted on current policies. And "current path" is denial (4°C–5°C raise).
To take your example from the gold smithing era. The earth warmed from -.5 -> +.6 degrees over the course of about 4000 years. We've warmed that much in the last 100 years.
Solutions that require the cooperation of the entire human race will never work, yet that is what keeps being pushed upon us.
The only real thing that can save us is for a small group to come up with some kind of technology that can make sweeping changes on a massive geological scale and ultimately reverse global warming without humanity having to do anything.
People aren’t going to change their lifestyles to save the world. Many people don’t even change their lifestyles to save themselves when it becomes medically necessary.
Personally, I’ve come to accept this is the end. If I must die to global warming, at least it will be an interesting death, I could have been shot and killed by a mugger or killed in a car crash instead.
Not to prove the OP's point about climate change denial. But that's overly pessimistic.
Climate change is a slow motion train wreck. Things will slowly, steadily, exponentially get worse. But you probably won't be alive to notice the worst of it. 200 years from now, things will look extremely different. And we'll be lucky if we've managed to ride through all the changes and migrations and potentially famines without starting a dreadful war and blowing ourselves up with these delightful world-ending stockpiles of nuclear weapons.
I'm really starting to think the answer to the Fermi paradox is there's a great filter and it lies in front of us. Technological civilizations wipe themselves out because they unlock powerful technologies before developing the wisdom to control them.
Happy Thursday everyone!
"The current global estimate is that there were around 272 million international migrants in the world in 2019, which equates to 3.5 per cent of the global population"
UN World Migration Report 2020 - https://www.un.org/sites/un2.un.org/files/wmr_2020.pdf
Back to the 200 million figure:
"This is a daunting figure; representing a ten-fold increase over today’s entire documented refugee and internally displaced populations. To put the number in perspective it would mean that by 2050 one in every 45 people in the world will have been displaced by climate change."
IOM Migration & Climate Change - https://www.ipcc.ch/apps/njlite/srex/njlite_download.php?id=...
To be clear, these figures represent how many people will have relocated by that point in time, not the number of people actively relocating at that point in time. Today, about 3.5% of the global population lives in a country other than the one they were born in. This prediction is that by 2050 that figure will have an extra 3% on top attributable to climate change.
I don't buy that claim though, it's hard to believe you could have a billion refugees with such tiny changes. We've already changed more than that since 1900 and there aren't a billion climate refugees. Why is the next half a degree of warming so much worse? I'd need to see what they base that estimate on.
In short, it is easy to become a climate refugee from a little warming when that results in drought for you.
A 3 degree F fever is okay with some bedrest and ibuprofen, but a 6 degree F fever can kill you. There are breaking points in every system. Half the stress of a breaking point is usually fine.
How are you measuring this as a percentage change? What's the denominator?
The Earth's atmospheric CO2 is up about 30% since 1900.
Averages are funny, and that's a global average so it's more pronounced at the higher latitudes. But still it's half of what we've already done since 1900. And as a percentage change in temperature in a given region, it should be fairly small.
Just intuitively it doesn't make sense that relatively small changes suddenly produce such disparate outcomes when they haven't to date.
Looking into the numbers a bit from what was shared above, I'm not wrong. 1 billion is the upper end of an estimate, with 5 million at the lower end. That's a very wide range.
Average temperature by itself is a very misleading measure, because it does not tell you anything about how much energy is being added to the system. Different substances need different amounts of energy added to raise their temperature by 1 degree, a concept called heat capacity. The amount of energy currently being added (and not radiated back into space) to the planet is staggering, and far in excess of the ability of the oceans to absorb it: https://www.climate.gov/news-features/blogs/enso/role-ocean-...
I do not know why popular science reporting rarely mentions this.
Edit: Regarding your other point, I'm sure you agree that an 0.5 C change from -0.25 to +0.25 will have a certain obvious dramatic impact. It might seem like I picked a particularly pathological example there, but if you imagine latitude on a globe or elevation on a mountain, you'll find somewhere (like the Laptev sea) hovering at that boundary and ready to cross it.
But that's only one boundary; there are many others, where the dominant plant or insect species changes from one to another, where methane gas starts to get released faster than stored, etc. So it's rather like a staircase, and when the average shifts, there's always somewhere on the planet that goes through a confusing and dramatic transition.
I agree that a delta of 0.5 C is less dramatic than a delta of 6.2 C, but is your intuition in accordance with all that, and do you think percentage increases are useful here for building intuition? Where would you draw the line for "small" in terms of percentage change of temperature?
I also calculate that the Earth is 30% warmer than Mars, but you might want to double check my math.
Edit -- we could also consider that temperature is in most respects an exponential measure of physical quantities (E ~ e^kT). So the ratio increase in a physical quantity of interest (E2/E1) is already given, on a log scale, by an absolute temperature difference (T2 - T1).
I still stand by my intuition that if a 1 degree rise since 1900 didn't cause mass migrations, another 0.5 degrees seems unlikely to.
I think we can agree things are going to get worse and that kind of mass migration might happen over a longer time period. Just not in the next 30 years.
As it turns out it's moot. The claim was the high end of a range starting at 5M. If your range is that wide you really have no business calling it an estimate. It's a WAG - a wild ass guess. I was right to be skeptical.
They may as well have just said we don't know how bad it's going to be, but it won't be good. And leave it there.
USA and Australia are the only two developed nations that continue to deny climate change. The entire world signed the Paris Agreement.
While the USA slowly is slowly led into international irrelevance by the Republican Party, China just joined South Korea, and Japan in pledging to be carbon neutral by 2050.
> While the USA slowly is slowly led into international irrelevance by the Republican Party
Anti-US, Anti-Republican bias is becoming very tiresome.
Jesus Christ! You make it seem like humans are only capable of binding resolutions enforced by some big daddy. Grow up!
China and other countries are trying to compete with the US economically, and this agreement would provide a way to do that via unequal outrage. US haters are already doing it, condemning the US (even though it's been lowering emissions for a while now), and making excuses for China and other major polluters because they are "developing countries". Meanwhile China is largely immune to internal criticism, and basically faces no meaningful pressure externally (aside from Trump, for other reasons). This would have been bad for the US.
Your views on this are emotional and overly simplistic. Grow up!
I agree with this. See: How rogue countries such as US just walked out of non-binding Paris accord.
However, there is no big daddy to enforce any agreement. Anyone trying to be a big daddy and force other countries to submission will only lead to another world war
This has played out before, right after WW1 where America and UK tried to subjugate Prussia to shame. It only led to simmering tensions and WW2. That is exactly the reason why after WW2, Roosevelt decided to lead the world with multipolar institutions, where many powers have a stake in the well being of the world. With big daddy diplomacy, there will be winners and losers and the next WW will not forgiving on mankind.
Before accusing someone of simplicity and emotions, acknowledge that you may have gaps in your understanding of WHY we do non-binding agreements. Do your homework, learn some history.
Your anti-US hysteria is showing.
> However, there is no big daddy to enforce any agreement. Anyone trying to be a big daddy and force other countries to submission will only lead to another world war
Economic sanctions work just fine when you have an actual "rogue country" not playing nicely. A non-binding agreement and harsh words do nothing to a country that doesn't care what you say.
> This has played out before, right after WW1 where America and UK tried to subjugate Prussia to shame. It only led to simmering tensions and WW2. That is exactly the reason why after WW2, Roosevelt decided to lead the world with multipolar institutions, where many powers have a stake in the well being of the world. With big daddy diplomacy, there will be winners and losers and the next WW will not forgiving on mankind.
FDR was terrible for this country, so doing the opposite is fine in my book.
> Before accusing someone of simplicity and emotions, acknowledge that you may have gaps in your understanding of WHY we do non-binding agreements. Do your homework, learn some history.
You are extremely emotional about the US. It's obvious from your posts you are most likely a self-loathing American who's been fed propaganda about how supposedly evil your own country is. Sad!
"non-binding, virtue-signaling nonsense" is a politician's wet dream. If it made the US look good without actually requiring them to do anything, why did Trump withdraw? Do you even logic?
> Anti-US, Anti-Republican bias is becoming very tiresome.
In that case, make sure you go out and vote. You can help MAGA by voting out the buffoon currently leading that nation. As a bonus, a republican party without Trump and the white supremacists he emboldened would be a party more people will find palatable.
How did you guess I wasn't Russian?
Or, you know, fixing the US political process so that a handful of ideologues aren't in a position to ignore popular sentiment and derail even the mildest form of action.
Do you have a suggestion for how to do this?
Don't get excited yet. Roving bands of raiders is still a potential outcome of climate change.
Try and find a pay phone in 2020. In 1980 they were everywhere.
The human race cooperates via market mechanisms. Those need to adjust to reflect the costs of global warming.