The IPCC reports are quite conservative. The reason the 2021 reports were so dire is because they began including some of the feedback loop modeling the scientists preparing the report have become more confident in. More is in the pipeline.
Somewhere along the line, it got political. Maybe it was always political. Hard to say that society needs to fundamentally change without people feeling it encroaches upon their world view.
You don't have to look very far to see our supply chain impacted by nature. Pandemics such as COVID were and are predicted to become more frequent. My local supermarket doesn't just have higher prices, the selection has gone down in many categories as the droughts and wildfires have impacted production. We are getting a taste of what has been long predicted. Deny all you want. I'm not saying the world will end this year, or next decade, but little by little, all the evidence I'm seeing is pointing towards the science being right. And it ain't pretty.
The level of ambition among our governments is quite low. The people are selfish, more concerned with their property values and if their neighbour mows their bylaw required lawn, than if the next generation will be able to have a similar quality of life. Why wouldn't you be cynical if you were young?
If you are a believer in conspiracies, what seems more likely to you? The climate scientists of the world conspiring to destroy the world economy? Or the powers that already be in this world desperately trying to hold onto their positions? I don't know about you, but I think the latter is far more likely.
Taking a massive gamble on injecting huge amounts of energy into a system which looks like it will be destabilized is just..... foolish? stupid? I dunno.
According to the Canadaland podcast there is a recent survey taken during the federal election campaign which suggests that 1 in 4 voters still do not accept anthropogenic climate change as real.
I am baffled.
Most of us would benefit from some sort of Green New Deal with a re-organization of the economy. I can completely understand the top 5 or 10 percent balking at any shake up of the system on purely economic advantage grounds, but what about all the other 85%? And even with a shake-up I find it hard to believe that any productive/active members of the 5 to 10 percent would not thrive relatively in any new situation and indeed be better off than in a severely disrupted environment.
Something other than rationality is going on here.
propaganda has always worked and this specific one is just particularly spectacular because there were so many players involved. They probably weren't coordinated even.
each one was just looking out for themselves but it ended in a global misinformation campaign that's been ongoing for decades now.
And what's even more frustrating is that we've known about these feedbacks for 15-20? years.
I've been reading about climate change and feedbacks for the past decade and I'm just part of the general public.
There's actually a report to Lyndon Johnson in 1965 about the dangers of climate change.
Maybe what is more common is that people do believe climate change is real, but they also think it doesn't really matter in long run - because of maybe something like a black swan event or something - dont know. So they see all this as just fear mongering.
Also, there's a layered stack of argument underneath outright denial to overcome - Even if climate change is real the climate has changed before, and I can't do anything about it, and <easily adoptable green tech> isn't perfect so why bother, and even if it is real it's not going to happen in my lifetime, and remember <all those predictions that have been wrong>, and so on and so on.
Going to stick my neck out here. IMHO the people overzealously pushing green tech when it isn’t suitable isn’t helping.
It just makes people skeptical when these zealots are the face of green tech. People aren’t stupid, they can see that these zealots are only interested in pushing green tech and don’t really care about their needs and wants.
To some extend this bleeds over and tarnishes the reputation of the climate movement.
We need a realistic view of green tech use - not an evangelical one - where its limitations are acknowledged and taken into account when considering for deployment.
The True Believers try to push a radical/extreme set of changes. These changes have some level of adoption, but not as large as the True Believers want. There's a pushback by the general populace against the change. Moderates in the movement subsequently attempt to push smaller change, but get attacked from both sides: the True Believers for not believing strongly enough, and the populace for being associated with the changes.
I get really frustrated by basically every part of this cycle, especially when I agree the issue needs fixing. I understand _why_ it happens, but I sure wish it didn't.
It's not about predictions of climate change being real or not. It's about predictions what measures contribute to what degree which is questionable.
Society or media is pretty bad at predictions or communicating predictions. In march I saw (worst case) predictions for incidence rate (covid) of 2000 ( university researchers in my city ). What happened instead: incidence rate dropped to 5 before it started climbing again. What I've learned: nobody can predict anything.
The IPCC reports say that if we do little to ameliorate the effects of global warming, in 2100 future generations will have a GDP per capita several times higher than today's, but lower than it would be if actions are taken. That's not an apocalypse. I would worry about other things if I were you.
You are asking old people now to lower their standard of living so that future generations will have a standard of living that goes from "much higher than yours" to "much higher than yours plus x%", while calling them selfish.
Maybe we should consider that you can't buy back the things we'll lose, barring some unexpected developments in large scale geoengineering. How much "GDP" would you trade to live in a world that isn't racked by increasingly powerful storms, unprecedented droughts, loss of unique habitats, mass extinction of various species, and the other dramatic effects of rapid climate shift?
What's your solution to this? Replacing migrant workers with locals by quadrupling the price of fruit? Or allowing more migrants in?
FWIW my family worked as day laborers and it wasn't viewed as exploitation but as a chance to stay in America and become legal. It was better than where they came from. My grandfather ended up becoming a translator and negotiator for the union, but he never had a bad word to say about how America had treated him.
How would it quadruple the price of fruit? Serious question. Prices would go up, but lets say a worker can pick, what 100 lbs of onions per hour. Onions cost between 30c-$1.50 a pound, so lets go low at say $0.50/pound. So in that hour, if they pick 100 pounds, that's around $50 of revenue. If they make, say $5/hour, and we quadruple their pay to $20/hour, if we increase the cost of onions so that one hour's worth of onions (100 lbs) costs $15/hour more, up to $65/hour, that would be $0.65 per onion. Far from quadruple. If we quadruple the cost to $2.00/onion, then that's $200/hour worth of onion revenue, and we could increase the worker wage from $5/hour to $105/hour!
Lots of research seems to back all this up.
I think laborers are simply exploited.
So our onion picker is making $20/hr. The stock boy in the market is still only making $5/hr, but his cost of food goes up by 30%. He's clearly being exploited - he makes less than an onion picker. He needs his pay quadrupled, too. So do the sorters, truckers, the mechanics, fuel attendants, market managers, every person along the way who touches that onion. All those increases get factored in so the final price of an onion will continue to rise, and then have to rise again, because no more value has been produced. When you put your thumb on one end of the scale, the inflation will ripple until that $20/hr will only buy the same number of onions that $5/hr would buy originally. Ultimately, after a period of economic contraction and devaluation of currency - and concomitant loss of personal savings in the bank, which will be soaked up by the financial sector, and those able to speculate against the dollar - everyone will be doing the same job they were doing before to be able to afford the same amount of onions.
I speak about this having lived through two periods of hyperinflation in Argentina. Fixing prices of goods or labor ends up destroying savings, and destroying people's lives. There needs to be a baseline - minimum wage - to prevent a race to the bottom. But when shortsighted people come into power promising to raise that faster than the rate of inflation, look out, because they're inextricably bound, and inflation will quickly catch up to it.
> For one pound of iceberg lettuce, which costs about $1.20 on average, farmers receive 40 cents and farmworkers get 13 of those 40 cents.
An 1.6666666% increase in price would be a 15% increase in salary. (say 1.7%)
>The BLS data show that expenditures by households (referred to in the data as “consumer units”) in 2019 was $320 on fresh fruits and $295 on fresh vegetables, amounting to $615 a year or $11.80 per week. In addition, households spent an additional $110 on processed fruits and $145 on processed vegetables.
$320 fresh fruits + 1.7% = $325.44 per year
$295 fresh vegetables + 1.7% = $300.01 per year
$615 + 1.7% = $625.45 per year
$11.80 + 1.7% = $12 per week
$110 processed fruits + 1.7% = $111.87
$145 processed vegetables + 1.7% = $147.46
$255 + 1.7% = 259.33
Total without extra pay:
$255 + $615 = $870
Total with extra pay:
259.33 + $625.45 = $884.79
The difference is $14.79 !!!
Related, I like how the argument is that the only way our economy will work is if there is a population that works for much less than a living wage. As if a form of near slavery must exist for capitalism to work. It's crazy.
If you want to make the argument that the middle class can afford to pay more for the goods they buy, and that money should find its way to the laborers who produce the goods, I think that's a worthy moral goal. But I think if you look at the price increases and the housing crises going on around the US, it's pretty clear that "livable wages" have aggravated those things rather than make anything more livable. All it's done is essentially made the money the middle class had in the bank less valuable than it was last year. The main beneficiaries of inflation, and the people who have maintained or increased the value of their assets, are landlords and investors. Minimum wage increases and price controls are two sides of the same inflationary coin, and they both serve to funnel value upward to the top 10%.
I accept that the money I get paid for my work is the only true indicator of what my work is worth. Lots of people can say they love my music, or my writing. But if no one buys my albums or my novels, I know they weren't very good albums or novels. I find a lot of peace in this knowledge. I don't have to wonder why the world is against me. I know that my work isn't good enough...and I have to try harder. Making not enough money from a long project is just the world telling me that I need to do better.
The appliances and furnace and so on are part of the solar loan, and so they are effectively free, as the loan payments are lower than the electricity and gas bill.
The solar and new appliances, and the AC, are effectively free, paid for by my ability to sell the energy back into the grid and by the sun.
I know most people can't adopt it yet, or without structural changes to the incentives, but most of my peers and neighbors could but don't. I'm mad at my peers and neighbors (except, obviously, the homes full of young immigrants working hard, and the retirees on fixed incomes and so on).
Also, when I visit my birth place of North Carolina, I get mad at all the people living near the beautiful and fragile barrier islands with their expensive SUVs and trucks and no solar, no electric cars, nothing being done to halt the destruction of such beautiful ecosystems. Not even an idea that the flooding and hurricanes are something they could actually take steps against. I get mad at the elites in these towns that ignore the problem that will end in the destruction of the beautiful islands they are entrusted with the care of.
I'm also a bit mad at my cousins that are resolute anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers.
I feel sorry for kids whose lives are made to feel meaningless and short-changed by this information warfare on both sides. Yes climate change is real and dangerous and yes the world needs to be proactive, and yes quality of life will decline, more in some places than others, and mostly falling on the global poor. Yes children should be educated about it and yes adults need to get ahead of it, including changing systems and practices that there is deep resistance to changing. But panicking the hell out of 14 year olds - or in this case, 50-somethings, that civilization is imminently coming to an end is going to have the terrible consequence of hastening or creating an end through instilling abject despair, rather than cultivating the means and the will to make the necessary changes.
The word "desperately" is doing a lot of work there. The ruling class doesn't seem very desperate at all to me, actually.
Matter of fact they like the climate change problem as far as I can see. It is yet another wedge they use to divide people and make them fight one another, meanwhile they continue to do what they please.
Climate science denialism and conspiracy theorists are not the problem, even in USA which is called a "hotbed" of this thinking, climate deniers are under 20% of the population. It's not the brave and valiant Joe Biden and friends battling against the evil corporations and deniers to tackle the biggest threat facing humanity. It's the rulers pointing out the unemployed coal miner from West Virginia and telling you that he's the reason for all your problems, while at the same time they're pointing you out to him and saying the same thing.
You really think they actually believe < 20% of some of the least educated and most disadvantaged people in the country are responsible for preventing them from addressing the most important issue they have ever faced? Please, they happily go to war and destroy other countries with far higher disapproval ratings than that.
All one has to do is look at the distribution of wealth to see where the money exists to fix this, technologically, policy, or a combination.
This at least is one of the true environmental effects the rich can't easily run from. Go ahead, get your little fortress in New Zealand. Tell yourselves you can hop your private jet.
Global warming will displace a billion people at least. That will make the syrian refugee crisis look like your brother in law crashing in the basement in comparison.
Remember that environmental and resource wars aren't easily recognized as such. Scarcity and strife always break down along ethnic or religious lines and will appear as ethnic wars, like the Sudan which is actually about freshwater.
It is ridiculous that science is held up as some grand conspiracy, a brilliant coordination of millions of dollars of funding to bring down the brave, oppressed, helpless hundred billionaires and their trillionaire corporations.
Why would that be a problem? Everything is impacted by nature, always has been.
> Pandemics such as COVID were and are predicted to become more frequent.
Key word is "predicted". Most of the alarmist predictions tend to be exaggerating either the effect itself, or its impact on us.
> My local supermarket doesn't just have higher prices, the selection has gone down in many categories
I think this is your local supermarket's problem. The supermarket I go to has better selection than ever, and prices are not any higher.
If you deny the failures, climate change deniers will have the luxury of being able to easily prove you factually wrong. Don't give them that luxury.
Instead, use the history to argue for action. Why didn't we run out of food? Green revolution. Why didn't the ozone cook us? Montreal protocol -- we switched halocarbons in our air conditioners and now the ozone layer is recovering. Why didn't we run out of oil? Fracking. CO2 is the biggest challenge yet, how do we fight it? Solar, wind, lithium, nuclear. Let's spend the money and make it happen.
Did you factor in the world-wide efforts to eliminate CFC gasses?
Here is an easier one: 'meteorologists predict you will get sunburnt today if you expose your skin to the sun'. So, based on this, you stay indoors most of the day, wear sunscreen, a long shirt, and a hat.
You don't get sunburnt and your rational conclusion is the science is wrong?
And Ozone depletion we actually came together as a civilization and fixed the issue. That was a good model for what we need to do with respect to carbon burn. Any of these predictions about the future are obviously conditional on "people do X" or "people do Y" or something equally involving predicting what people will do in the future.
Well, he was "right", the WEO (not an anti-capitalist/leftist/ecologist organism by any mean, au contraire) now admit that conventional oil peaked in 2008 in the world. The north sea gas extraction peaked in 2004.
The scenarios that fall short of ending civilisation, e.g. losing hundreds of millions of lives to famine or war, are obviously still very bad. This is not to downplay climate change in the slightest. It's just... at some point, people start dying, and that frees up ecological carrying capacity again. You need to make pessimistic assumptions about a lot of positive feedback loops in ecological and social collapse to predict that all human civilisation is going to be wiped out in the sense of regressing back to before the industrial revolution.
Carbon caused climate change isn't a carry-ing capacity / overpopulation / over utilization issue (and is now somewhat dwarfing those issues). It is a big change that has some chance of devastating a lot of biological based support systems all at the same time.
The risk to technological civilization is not in the direct effects, but in the human mediated effects. Not that leaving on yeast and water would be that good.
I'd put it in the low single digits or maybe lower, on the basis that a cascade of things need to go wrong: first you need a climate scenario that exceeds the IPCC estimates, then you need significant damage or conflict, then you need a potential collapse event to emerge from the conflict, then the event has to trigger collapse on its own or other events have to occur and combine with it.
Curious to hear your thoughts though, because I haven't put firm numbers on anything or looked deeply into any of the research on collapse specifically.
But maybe like Kim Stanley Robinson’s recent book, it will all work together and we will make a new carbon based cryptocurrency backed by the bankers, switch to blimps and all ends well. I have kids and am teaching them to corporate with people rather than become preppers, so I guess I am optimistic de facto.
Being totally accurate when predicting the future is impossible, but discussion of the factors is useful in its own right.
I understand that climate change is progressing rapidly, is going to cause very bad things to happen (my earlier comment mentioned hundreds of millions of human deaths as an example), and should be mitigated. What I question is whether the total collapse of industrial civilisation as a result of climate change is likely to occur. This is as opposed to economic stagnation, famine, war, widespread desertification, unliveable wet-bulb temperatures, or anything else short of a total collapse.
> economic stagnation, famine, war, widespread desertification, unliveable wet-bulb temperatures
For most people those are collapse and it's definitely going to happen and will come much sooner. The video shows it's going on the worst case scenario way.
Global warming is scary because of nukes.
The timeline till we get widespread crop problems is 15-20 years.
God we did manage to fuck ourselves good and proper.
People like the romance of dramatic and exciting extremes, of paradise and apocalypse. The mundane probability of having to adapt to somewhat worse conditions isn't that entertaining.
Why would anyone take the risk of messing with that?
It's as though they assume that there will be generalized devastation but there will be some "safe place" which some powerful group can defend and use.
Instead it's possible that maybe for one year New Zealand will be great, but then there will be no rain for 10 years, while previously uninhabitable Brighton (UK) will be a lush, tropical paradise for a couple of decades. Everyone will haul their gear to Brighton and massacre the indigenous, but then everything will change again, etc.
Or we could stop driving 2000Kg of metal to get to our jobs or buy a bag of chips and keep all the tourists at home that are destroying Venice and leaving their feces and plastic containers all over the Himalayas.
OK, I'll stop driving my 2000kg of metal tomorrow. The first grocery shop is 25 minutes walking, one way. Maybe with a good degree of planning my family won't starve. But we also need to go to work and school, and these are not within walking distance. Sadly, I have to take that back: I won't stop driving my 2000kg of metal, because I don't see how we can possibly live without it. (We're living within the boundaries of a large North American city, not even in the suburbs.)
And as to the more general argument you can get away with it as long as you have been voting for every proposal to increase taxes to pay for public transport and prevent centralization of services and stores.
I'm afraid I do not buy it. I have lived in what are supposed to be the most car-bound US environments and also in the countryside and it is all a matter of choice: not just personal choice (which I will agree can be a displacement from central planning), but most especially of people choosing low taxation over public services every time.
I can't see how you can possibly continue to live as you have done with your 2000Kg of metal. In fact it's looking very probable that you will be accelerating a decline in many aspects of your life.
Joke aside, even if we were to stop driving a car and flying a plane in US (the biggest pop-enviro boogeymen) it will cut 25% of USA greenhouses emissions. US greenhouse emissions is 15% of the world. Completely eliminating the automobile and the plane from US will only cut global emissions by less than 4%. The world energy usage is growing at 1% per year, so all that was accomplished was to push the inevitable about 4 years into the future.
Lets up the ante and ban the automobile & plane globally. (Or wipe US economy off the map). That would only save 15% of global emissions, i.e. push the inevitable 15 years into the future.
Here's a challenge: go find a city of non-trivial size that is living a sustainable life according to Paris accord energy targets. Bikes, Passivhaus, local agriculture, solar rooftops, windmills, the works. You won't find any, other than perhaps 3rd world slums. The only known lifestyle that fits the Paris accord energy envelope is subsistence agriculture. And we can't go back to subsistence agriculture, there is too many of us.
(Obviously) Malthus was right.
Do you think that your educators were climate scientists? Maybe you just had educators which misestimated the reports of actual scientists.
Is a grade-school teacher supposed to understand climate forecasting?
You're an adult. You should have realized by now that your grade school teachers didn't actually know everything about everything.
We have like 15 years. Perhaps you dont think +1.5C does anything to farming?
The sea levels rising is not the issue.
edit - a better link since someone didn't appreciate my google-fu: https://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/544472-the-mo...
Stop moving goalposts. The media has a problem with peddling misinformation and shitty climate predictions.
I`m not a climate change denier, but shitty predictions definitely hurt the cause of legitimate concern.
Here's another quick Google search from a (more?) legit site: https://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/544472-the-mo...
Of course anyone in the Gen X/older millennial category should know what I'm talking about anyway (unless they slept through the first decade of their schooling).
We had advices like that from former president. Ideas like "if you don't run testing for COVID, you don't have many positives" should surely be accepted enthusiastically on HN.
Seriously, why it should matter if CNN talks about that or not? Don't facts rule, and rule pretty assertively here?
The short term existential crisis is economic instability and mass migration leading to unpredictable warfare. The long term existential crisis is that south Florida really is gone along with the place where something like half of all humans live, the ocean life that supports billions of people dies out, and increasingly unpredictable weather patterns cause entire ecosystems to fail taking out huge chunks of humanity in addition to war over the remaining resources.
you may have gotten to see the absolute peak of society.
> to accept the things I cannot change;
> courage to change the things I can;
> and wisdom to know the difference.
Civilisation as we know it, and perhaps even humanity is in the process of ending. The ending is inevitable, whether it is now or nearer to the heat death of the universe.
If you can personally try and affect change, then you should do it. But more likely, you are a slave to the same system that everyone else is. I'd recommend working on acceptance at this point.
That makes a huge difference. Even having it wind down over a period of a few thousand years, or even a few hundred, would be a hell of a lot better than what is looking like the increasingly likely prospect of having it wind down in a few decades. That is going to cause an incalculable amount of pain.
The requirements involved with contributing to slowing (or stopping) climate change do not include worrying about it. If you are losing sleep, you would benefit from changing your attitude towards it.
Civilisational decline is a constant. It is coming. Accept it now, and work to delay it if you can make a meaningful change. If not, don't lose sleep over it.
I'm doing what I can to invest in future green tech and trying to limit my consumption. I am NOT losing sleep over the fact that we probably don't have much more of a future as a race.
If we ignore all that, then it sounds like I'm saying to give up. But if we take the context into account, it is evident that I'm actually giving OP advice on how to mentally and emotionally survive the coming apocalypse.
Though, maybe I should have been more clear.
> which could easily be interpreted
Perhaps there are more than one way in which to interpret certain concepts? Or maybe I'm interpreting your comment wrong?
Edit: yeah, not positive but a knee-jerk reaction to the grandparent comment that essentially said "I got mine, Jack -- sucks to be you".
There's so much we can do to mitigate the damage but that won't happen through complacency.
Maybe you could post your own attitudes and provide some justification for them instead? This may convince the other poster to change theirs. Currently your comment is pointless.
The money we spent on the Afghanistan and Iraq wars could have paid for true energy independence using renewables. We have a pending budge proposition to try and address it but some say we can't afford it.
How can we afford endless war but not afford investing in power that civilization needs but doesn't kill us?
I try to choose the most useful response, which for me is volunteering time in organizations that develop solutions. This way I can use my personal expertise and contribute something, however small. If I find a more useful path, then I will take it.
Climate change is a serious issue, and one that stands poised to do a substantial amount of harm, but if the majority of young people think that humanity is doomed then I seriously suspect that there's misinformation about the impact of climate change at play here. Even the more pessimistic outlooks of climate change still leave substantial areas of habitable climate. Many societies would be harmed, and disproportionately among lower income equatorial countries, but I think it's a massive stretch to say that humanity is doomed based on our climate projections.
The mere collapse of civilization and mass death should be bad enough that we take drastic action to prevent it, but I do also think it would be foolish to dismiss the possibility of human extinction.
Desalination is prohibitively energy-intensive. More so in a world of shrinking resources.
You're arguing for precisely why these shortages are a problem but you think you're arguing against their existence. A "shortage" is not simply a hard supply number -- it's also defined by how well the supply is utilized. And the problem is precisely that humans are, and will presumably continue to be, selfish and horrible at using even sufficient or even surplus supplies. So why in the world would anyone think that we'll adequately deal with actually shortages?
Warfare and inept or corrupt government are the primary reasons. E.g. deliberate starvation as seen in the Ethiopia-Tigray conflict, and isolationism as seen in North Korea.
> Desalination is prohibitively energy-intensive. More so in a world of shrinking resources.
Israel produces the majority of its domestic water through desalination . This is but one of several ways of improving water supply, others include wastewater reclamation or building new aqueducts.
> You're arguing for precisely why these shortages are a problem but you think you're arguing against their existence. A "shortage" is not simply a hard supply number -- it's also defined by how well the supply is utilized. And the problem is precisely that humans are, and will presumably continue to be, selfish and horrible at using even sufficient or even surplus supplies. So why in the world would anyone think that we'll adequately deal with actually shortages?
However bad you believe our utilization to be, the end result is still cutting world hunger by a third over the last 20 years. And more than halved since 1970. In developed countries, the percentage of land used for agriculture is often declining . I think you're missing the forest for the trees: the reduction in arable land caused by climate change is more than offset by the greater yields delivered by industrialized agriculture, and the assumption that there will be a shortage in staple goods will not hold true.
Ironically we're a completely natural phenomenon - a species that outcompetes the others, but gets stuck at individual and herd intelligence without evolving collective intelligence.
We're basically a brushfire species - which is probably something that happens fairly regularly on planets.
Source: our world in data / Factfulness.
In 2018, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization reported that climate change is one of the leading drivers of global hunger .
"Overall, the number of hungry people grew for the third year in row in 2017, reaching a total of 821 million worldwide. The paper warns that this number will continue to rise if countries fail to tackle climate change and to build resilience to its unavoidable impacts."
And just this summer, Madagascar made the news for suffering the world's first climate-induced famine .
It's also unclear if this is a noise figure rather than a trend. Overall hunger has been declining for decades. Less people die from hunger and weather than ever before if you move the running average out a bit (10 years for example)
I wouldn't discount climate change here. It's obviously part of it. Syria is a prime example, where drought has contributed to the civil war. But like all climate change - it's nuanced.
What I'm taking away here is that climate change is both directly driving hunger, and compounding other drivers like war. You call it "nuanced," which of course is true, in the same way that the proximate cause of death "from old age" is nuanced: each thing that goes bad compounds all the other things. I feel that misses the point, which is that climate change is only just beginning to exacerbate global hunger.
Key chart: https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/share-undernourished-regi...
However, over the last few years, the total number increased to around 663 million in 2017. This increase in hunger levels are largely a result of increases in Sub-Saharan Africa (where rates have risen by several percentage points in recent years) and small increases in the Middle East & North Africa. The UN FAO have linked this increase in undernourishment in particular to the rising extent of conflict-affected countries (which is often a leading cause of famine), and compounded by climate-related factors such as the El Niño phenomenon (which can inflict both drought and flood conditions).
The fear is more that society collapses. Our way of life may be doomed. With our extreme focus on career specialisation over the past century, very few, if any of us have the generalist skills to thrive in a world equivalent to pre-industrial times. It's not something to shrug at. What country can actually live as a self contained unit without global supply lines and dependencies? What families or individuals could?
It's also true that there will be substantial areas of habitable climate. The problem is that people who weren't lucky enough to be born and live in one, won't simply accept their fates and die. Eight billion people will surge into a relatively small habitable band - in the process this will destroy the arable land and severely strain systems like water, power, waste and healthcare.
The overwhelming majority of the earth will still be habitable with even the most pessimistic predictions of 4-5 degrees of warming. Those areas that stand to become uninhabitable, like the Sahara Desert, are very sparsely populated. Only 2.5 million people in an area the size of the continental USA. A big swath on a map, but not a very big impact on global demographics. As far as resources go, the world already has a substantial overproduction of food. Water can be secured from alternative sources, like desalination (Israel already obtains ~40% of its water from desalination) and reclamation of waste water.
To reiterate, I see a massive gap in how the effects of climate change lead to the collapse of global civilization.
> To reiterate, I see a massive gap in how the effects of climate change lead to the collapse of global civilization.
if, for example supply chains of manufactured goods from a few countries petered out, the effects would cascade up the chain to many other industries
just look at the effect of a covid, and microchip shortages, we can barely get capacity to build cars and even gpus now and its only getting worse
add some mass migrations here and there, political disruptions, markets pulling back investments (aka 2008) and more, and it becomes much easier to imagine our way of life being disrupted so such a degree that we "cannot carry on as before"
If we can't prevent - or based on comments here, completely reject the reality of - the massive and preventable degradation of the only habitat in known universe where we can survive then we are in fact quite doomed.
The Kyoto Protocol, first international treaty designed to limit greenhouse gas emissions, was signed in 1997. Since then greenhouse emissions have grown by 50% and global population has grown by 25%. What prevention measures are you proposing, and why did they utterly fail to reverse the catastrophic growth trend in the past 25 years?
Climate change is not happening in a vacuum. You are completely underestimating the monumental effects of what you're conceding will happen (disproportionate harming of lower income equatorial countries), and overstating the consolation of there still being substantial areas of habitable climate.
We are poised to see the largest refugee crisis in history. The global supply chain will lose its most foundational workers, the destruction of its most foundational resources. Wealthier nations will not welcome those refugees with open arms, and we can all but expect their arrival to even further foment the rise of right-wing extremism, which will continue to contribute to instability in their own native countries.
Furthermore, those shrinking but still existent areas of habitable climate will encourage violence simply by way of everyone on the planet becoming more and more aware of how rare they are. And even that ignores the fact that "habitable" does not mean "untouched." Those places will have their own purely-climate-related problems, politics and violence aside.
And that is but one of dozens or even hundreds of equally massive, intertwined, complex issues resulting from climate change.
The very literal existence of humanity may not be doomed (though it very well may be), but any semblance of global order and a functioning society very much is.
Deploy more solar.
Fund fusion research.
Deploy indoor vertical farms.
Build structures underground.
I wonder what nation will be in last place for who is the cleanest. If theyre stubborn about burning gas I dont care about their sovereignty. I dont think I will be alone on that.
A close second is military grade electric flight research.
I'll add to your list: degrowth.
My feeling is that we could survive climate change easily, but it's the other people that will do us in.
We've lost ~4.5 million people globally to covid and things have been a little weird (this is certainly an understatement for some). What happens when that's 50 million? 100?
It's easy to panic about hot-button issues such as climate change when the media clickbaits you into endless doom and gloom and refuses to report on the safety and efficiency innovations in nuclear energy and the fact that whatever climate change exists has already been a solved problem for decades.
The media is the cause of the biggest mental health crises on the planet. We're letting some of the most mediocre people drive society into ruin just to get people to sell a few extra ads.
It's retroactively very extreme sounding, but that's because governments collectively acted to enact environmental regulations. The ozone really was on its way to just vanishing and still isn't fully recovered.
The difference is that governments are full of people who don't realize that active efforts prevented disaster scenarios, and they're paid to say the bad things that are happening aren't happening. What was a slow moving disaster is now accelerating and people are still pretending humans can magically fix everything they knowingly fucked up.
I agree social media is awful, but it does not follow that climate change isn't cause to panic.
If anything, half of Americans are nowhere near panicked enough about climate change as the result of social media.
Even those taking action are seen as overly concerned/panicked children who are only doing this because of TikTok. I cannot express under this site's guidelines how absolutely grating and antagonizing this kind of view is. As if media didn't exist before the Internet and this generation is somehow a uniform drone of phone-addicted feeble minds.
Perhaps it has less to do with irrational panic and more to do with the certain loss of life that will affect us all.
All the climate alarmism and environmental activists has done is promote worse options like solar and wind that are more environmentally destructive and cannot sustain modern human civilization.
I've heard nonsense claims against renewable energy my entire life, but it's all over except for the shouting. Nuclear is going away because wind and solar are already cheaper and easier to deploy and better for the environment. Maybe it's a good option on Mars where there isn't a biosphere.
If you were on a spaceship and every year the CO2 => oxygen recycling systems grew increasingly unpredictable as well as the average temperature of all systems onboard, would it be alarmist to figure out what was going on? The climate is changing, very slowly on our individual lifespan timescale, but very quickly on the timescale of the last twenty thousand years of weather patterns that can support our current population.
note: Uranium spot prices are increasing because the Sprott Physical Trust purchases and WSB activity. The spot market is a minor part of the overall markets. Plants purchase from producers directly under long term contracts.
There's many reasons that these forms of energy are arguably worse than nuclear environmentally: such as the substantial amount of prime land they must occupy to generate the same amount of electricity to the second order effects of their limited nature in necessitating batteries to store power when the sun/wind isn't working.
> Second, solar and wind can sustain modern human civilization.
> Sixth, all of wind, solar, and nuclear are just electric sources and we face a storage density problem not a generation problem.
I've written about this many times, but this energy storage problem is precisely why wind and solar cannot work to drive human activity. When the sun doesn't shine or the wind doesn't blow, you just can't realistically store enough energy to drive refrigeration, industry, and all of the other features of modern life on a mass scale with our current technology level. Nuclear energy doesn't have this constraint.
> Third, clean energy has de facto not been solved because only a small percentage of generation is currently nuclear.
> Fourth, even what you describe were possible, construction lead time on known scalable reactor designs is many years.
I'm not concerned. If it's a problem and necessary for humanity, it will eventually happen, and very quickly. I think economics dictates this.
> Fifth, even what you describe were possible, the fuel supply chain is underdeveloped and would take many years to develop.
Not worried. Uranium prices are currently spiking and will continue to spike. And this is a good thing as it incentivizes increased production. Experts more informed than me have said when the spot price of uranium hits around 60-65, many more mines and sources become economically viable and will start scaling up.
> Seventh, the nature of the climate problem is one that has already happened and will continue for decades even if every human ceased to exist immediately.
I have no doubt that climate change fear mongering will exist eternally. Whenever a politician messes up forest management or flood mitigation, it's easier to blame "climate change" than their own competence.
I'm less convinced that it's a real threat to life on Earth. We'll adapt to any challenges, as we always have.
> Eighth, nuclear is still not renewable.
It doesn't matter as we have enough uranium to last many, many, many lifetimes, and far more if sea-water extraction can be done safely. By that point, we'll have other options.
> I could go on but I hope you appreciate that I disagree with you and think you are underinformed about nuclear power.
I'd agree with you that despite trying to stay informed, I don't know nearly enough about nuclear energy. And for that I blame the media who is fixated on trying to clickbait fear rather than informing us about the solutions.
I can't understand the viewpoint that climate change coverage is some sort of clickbait to drive ad revenue. I can't think of anything worse to read about. It's so depressing and makes me avoid the news and see less ads if anything.
How solved is it if the solutions aren't getting deployed?
Look into Scott Adams law of slow moving disasters.
To sum it up, whenever humans see a problem coming in the distant future, they find a way to solve it in time. Y2K is a great example of this: when stories about the effects of Y2K were popularized, some people thought that there would be no way to fix so many millions of lines of code in time and some of the marvels of human civilization like the electrical grid or the banking system might irrecoverably crash. Yet humans found ways to solve the issues and essentially nothing happened.
Maybe pick someone with a slightly better record on predictions.
Take this  paper for example I just happened upon. Look at this scary graphic they provide to convince the reader that wildfires are getting worse . The paper goes on painting a terrible picture about the rising trend of wildfires in the U.S. Now let's look at the source for their graphic and look back further at earlier dates from the same source.  - kind of paints a different picture, no?
So at what point am I, an average citizen supposed to be worried enough that I do my own systematic reviews of the literature and see who is just sensationalizing the problem?
Maybe I'm the minority, maybe the "marketing" of global warming is exactly as it should be if the problem is indeed as dire as many would have me believe, but the obvious sensationalism just makes me wonder if everyone trying to sell me on this fear has just bought into the hype and as such I'll be a hard sell on this issue, because if it was real and dire - I doubt there would be such obvious sensationalism every time I look into it.
Yes, but not in the way you're portraying it. The big shift downwards comes in a major shift in strategy in dealing with forest fires in the early to mid 1900s; it doesn't tell you much about the climate at the time. https://foresthistory.org/research-explore/us-forest-service...
> In 1935, the Forest Service established the so-called 10 a.m. policy, which decreed that every fire should be suppressed by 10 a.m. the day following its initial report. Other federal land management agencies quickly followed suit and joined the campaign to eliminate fire from the landscape.
I'm saying they haven't gotten better.
The drop in the 1930s-1950s shown in the wider chart has nothing to do with climate, and little to do with technology. It reflects a misguided change in fire management strategy (put out every fire ASAP), one that is now understood as a bad approach, because it causes build ups of unburnt brush that cause more dangerous, more intense fires.
No. People will keep working on it. But being unrealistic and continuing to live and consume like you did in the 00's because "anyway, tech will save us" is the worst comportment anybody can have.
That said, I backpacked in the Sierras this summer and alarmingly saw many old Pine stands recently dead from what I assume is the drought. I also find the perilous state of the arctic ocean ice, the seeming breakdown of typical jetstream patterns(probably linked to the arctic ice) and the sky-high CO2(resulting in ocean acidification as well as warming) all particularly concerning.
If you want to read about particularly the smoke, the books are broken up by year and chapters chronologically, his writings during September particularly tend to describe the smoke.
> Approximately 1.8 million ha burned annually in California prehistorically (pre 1800). Our estimate of prehistoric annual area burned in California is 88% of the total annual wildfire area in the entire US during a decade (1994–2004) characterized as ‘‘extreme’’ regarding wildfires. The idea that US wildfire area of approximately two million ha annually is extreme is certainly a 20th or 21st century perspective. Skies were likely smoky much of the summer and fall in California during the prehistoric period.
from: Prehistoric fire area and emissions from California’s forests, woodlands, shrublands, and grasslands (2007)
> Many consider wildfire as an accelerating problem [...] however, important exceptions aside, the quantitative evidence available does not support these perceived overall trends.
It's also not enough. We will have to start sucking up that carbon from the atmosphere whether we cut emissions or not.
The people on the "lower rungs of humanity" emit an order of magnitude less carbon than everyone else, and should be the last to cut.
I see this argument frequently and it annoys me.
Poor people emit less carbon because they are poor. Do you want them to stay poor?!? I want a future where everyone can at least live a life as wealthy as mine. But my carbon emissions are much higher than that of the global poor.
If we can provide everyone with at least a quality of life like mine, then we're going to massively increase carbon emissions globally. Sure, better technology will help us here, but it is completely unrealistic to expect this to cancel out the increases of emissions and for this not to increases prices. This would, again, put my kind of life out of reach for many.
Look at China for a realistic example. China has had one of the highest reductions in poverty in history - from 88% in extreme poverty in 1981 to 0.7% by 2015. At the same time China's carbon emissions per capita went from 1.46 tons in 1981 to 7.169 tons in 2015. That's a 391% increase in emissions per capita, but it's worth it, because people are better off as a result.
Climate change is a problem, but it won't ruin tomorrow. It will slowly get worse, but this means that there's time. I believe that technological (engineering) solutions are the only way we can realistically deal with it. Cutting emissions is not going to be enough and it will come with a whole boatload of side effects.
>this seems like it's going to be the hardest thing humanity has had to deal with in recorded history, and make the misery of extreme poverty in China seem nice in comparison.
I don't see how. There aren't going to be major effects for most people for a very long time. This gives us plenty of time to try various things like carbon capture, putting a shade into space etc.
On carbon capture that we can do today: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2021-09-08/inside-th...
At $600 per ton of CO2 it's not insurmountable. We emit about 36 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. Napkin math:
36 billion * $600 = $21.6 trillion
Global GDP is at around $84 trillion, which means that this carbon capture technology is within our reach. Obviously an enormous amount of work would need to be done, but it's at least in the right ballpark.
The US emits about 4.8 billion tons of CO2. That would cost $2.88 trillion. Considering the US GDP is $21 trillion that's even more reasonable.
Technological advancement is likely going to cut this cost further. However, I'm also sure that there are some emissions that haven't been factored in here, but we would still be at numbers where society can work.
Also, "extreme poverty" is subsistence farming. About $2-3 worth of goods per day of work.
The foremost experts in DAC are emphatic that it’s not a silver bullet that will magically save us, and that the heavy lifting needs to be done by reducing new emissions.
And at this point, going eventually carbon neutral isn’t enough to avoid the 2 degree C scenario, we need to be going negative eventually.
The major effects seem likely to be deadly heatwaves, crop failure in hotter areas, mass migration, and political strain from all of that.
We will have to start sucking it up faster than we've extracted it... which is about 100 million barrels a day. Ain't gonna happen.
It’s not all a negative trade off.
The problem with this is that it means not only are they not doing anything to help, they're much less likely to vote for people who would too because they're unwilling to accept inconveniences. Instead they'll vote for people who's policies would only inconvenience others, or make performative gestures while accomplishing nothing.
I'm afraid I have come to agree with others who believe this is a problem that society simple can't solve because it lacks any mechanism to make the necessary choices.
If I want a house made of sustainable materials, that's irrelevant if no builders near me are using them (or in the last 50 years when the houses were built).
If I want an appliance that lasts for 50 years, who is selling them? There's more profit in shipping cheap junk that you replace often
If I want to ride a bike to work, what do I do if there's no bike lane and I live really far away due to low density zoning and urban sprawl?
If I want to use renewable energy, which grid can I plug into that isn't powered by coal?
If I need medicine, which manufacturer will use biodegradable plastics for their containers? Should I factor that in and weigh it against the effectiveness of the medicine itself as a consumer? I'm supposed to vote with my dollars, right?
There's not really any way around legislating or directly subsidising alternatives if its going to make a difference.
I don't disagree. What I'm saying is that this narrative of no one's individual choices mattering in the grand scheme leads people to just stop doing anything, not only personally, but also on a political level.
i would be happy to only use glass bottles and no more plastic even if it means i have to wash them before taking them to get refilled. except there is nowhere i can do this. all i have the option of doing is buying and landfilling more single use plastic.
people need to be given no cheaper choice than to do the right thing. but capitalism isnt about to stop maximizing profits and disregarding externalities. they would much rather cheer you on to "recycle" (landfill) rather than reduce or reuse.
it's a race to the bottom. i've heard it called environmental arbitrage. regulations too harsh in US? outsource to china where it's cheaper and simply gets dumped into rivers/oceans over there.
the "individual action makes a difference" is fairy tale. for every 1 person who tries individual action, 999 will discard 3000 plastic containers that cost them ~$0 to acquire but made the container mfg $3,000 profit.
Unless of course all 1000 of them decided to do something. Can't you see how this narrative is self-fulfilling?
until everyone's houses start burning down or flooding due to climate change, or they see empty grocery stores, no one will care/act. at that point it is far too late to _start_ making changes. people with the means to make lifestyle changes are far too removed from the externalities and timescales to affect their behavior.
That being said, I'll absolutely agree with the sentiment that "humans will always be human". We're not going to collectively try to fix this until it's too late. That's the saddest part.
> Message boards are message boards. You can't take them seriously, including this one.
You're being aggressive and condescending for no reason. To quote you, "I thought HN was better than this."
> When beef has the 30x the environmental impact of plant based food per calorie, it would be hard to make the statement that fat people are automatically to blame for climate change.
This isn't what anybody suggested. As obesity rises, people eat more, creating the food to sustain those people causes a greater environmental impact. If more people drive cars, we need more gas, right?
> The whole argument is just completely ignorant on its face.
You're angry for no reason.
> Dispute what I said instead of making glib replies.
> Do you think every calorie has the same environmental impact? No? Because OF COURSE NOT. So what are you even disagreeing with?
More net calories is more net carbon. Basic math, friend.
No, that's how online message boards work.
Gallup has the US at 5% vegetarian. Math doesn't add up.
The problem is that developing countries like China and India are so desperately short of electricity (growth in demand is so high) that any new builds just add to existing production rather than replacing it. - Governments will prop up uneconomic generators to maintain total supply.
I don't know how to scale up PV and wind quickly enough to just replace coal in this situation.
Edit: the Chinese experiments with thorium molten salt and pebble-bed high temperature fission reactors are interesting here.
If they can easily swap out coal furnaces with nuclear reactors and retain the other 80% of the power stations, they'll get great benefits in air quality and and emissions while making use of of their investment in thermal generation.
In my opinion, anything that creates a profit motive for imprisonment and recidivism is an incentive recipe for disaster. So even if justly incarcerated I would probably say no?
But regardless, I don't think assuming just incarceration in China is a great idea.
The PRC government has pressured large numbers of
Uyghurs, including former detainees, into accepting
employment in the formal workforce, particularly in the
textile, apparel, agricultural, consumer electronics, and
other labor-intensive industries, in Xinjiang and other
provinces. Uyghurs who refuse to accept such employment
may be threatened with detention. Some factories utilizing
Uyghur labor reportedly are tied to global supply chains.
Factory employment often involves heavy surveillance and
political indoctrination of Uyghurs."
That seems like a bad survey. Why does 'guilty' get 'and/or' while the others do not? Guilty does not belong in the same question with the others. Maybe surveys like this one find what they are looking for because of the way the questions are asked.
It is meant as:
afraid and/or sad and/or anxious and/or angry and/or powerless and/or helpless and/or guilty
ie the last "and/or" is defining what the commas mean. Just like "a, b, c, and d" or "a, b, c, or d" don't mean "a, b, (c and d)" or "a, b, (c or d)"
And that was also a smaller summary list of options than the actual study had.
The point I'm trying to make is that what you're calling out as a bad question is a summary in 3rd party reporting and not the actual questions in the survey or the report.
It's a bit like judging a book based on someone else's book report rather than the book itself.
What exactly are they expecting governments to change? Policy, power generation, transportation, what? And will they accept the necessary or resultant policies and changes?
The above are "easy" if you have a totalitarian regime where what the autocrats say go, goes: China, Saudi Arabia, etc., most other countries are more democratic and it takes time for change to happen.
Will people redefine what carbon is; who will suffer, how many people will lose jobs due to electrification of many industries (auto MFG for one, the UFW, is concerned). What happens to the third world where they use charcoal for cooking?
I think there is much more to be thought out.
Yes. It will become a political football because of its immense power to economically marginalize wide swaths of society.
Individuals are still incentivised to make climate friendly consumption choices, but on net the population is no worse off financially.
This to me aligns with economic theory in practice more accurately than a carbon tax.
Governments took quite a few measures in the last few decades to subsidize and encourage the electric car market.
People won't evade buying cars that produce less CO2 if they're cheaper and better than the competition. This is why I think it's more likely to align with economic theory.
Probably despair that they've been failed by my generation, my parent's generation and (since they're to a large extent the ones still in power, at least in the US), my grandparent's generation. Since, as you point out, change takes time in democracies, and even longer internationally, it was our collective jobs to avoid even being in this situation, and we sort of screwed the pooch.
What were governments supposed to do? What technology were they going to leverage? did we have computers, modelling, alternatives?
Cars with ICE could have become more efficient, yes. But where else could we have cut the fat? Fewer people via worldwide contraception, to stem demand? More public transit? Much of carbon output is not on the consumer side, but on the industry side of things.
The antinuke activists killed green energy which would have make coal and other dirty power obsolete. That would have been a nice chunk.
I don't think we had the technology back then to do much about it. We could have slowed it down a bit, but not stop it.
These are things which are, quite clearly, at least an order of magnitude less than what we need to accomplish today, but since climate change is caused by the area under the emissions curve, perhaps that 50 year head start would've been enough. With the benefit of hindsight, it certainly would've been worthwhile to give it more of a try than what we actually did.
The broad understanding of it was known in the late 70s, and even accepted by politicians by the early 80s as a policy requirement before it became politicised later.
>I don't think we had the technology back then to do much about it. We could have slowed it down a bit, but not stop it.
If you think of the massive exponential growth of oil/gas consumption and the level of deforestation since the 70s - even just slowing it down back then would've bought a much longer window of time to tackle it with less disruption as well as develop technologies to help fix/mitigate it.
I can certainly see some of the problems. The real increases are in India/China. Union of Concerned Scientists shows that US share of worldwide CO2 is 15%, even a solid change is only a fraction of 15%. A lot of solutions (nuclear, fracking of natgas to replace coal, cutting immigration from the Third World to the First, etc.) are politically unpopular with climate activists. World population is supposed to peak at 50% higher than current level. GDP improvements (and energy use) could easily outstrip improvements in efficiency. etc. etc.
oh well, no one is asking me to run their lives so I'll just sit back and watch.
"Given the importance of these future projections, one might expect the brain to possess accurate, unbiased foresight. Humans, however, exhibit a pervasive and surprising bias: when it comes to predicting what will happen to us tomorrow, next week, or fifty years from now, we overestimate the likelihood of positive events, and underestimate the likelihood of negative events. For example, we underrate our chances of getting divorced, being in a car accident, or suffering from cancer. We also expect to live longer than objective measures would warrant, overestimate our success in the job market, and believe that our children will be especially talented. This phenomenon is known as the optimism bias, and it is one of the most consistent, prevalent, and robust biases documented in psychology and behavioral economics."
Quote: "To save the Greenland ice sheet – and Florida – will require a Nansen-esque transformation on steroids, something inspired by, but much larger than, President Franklin D Roosevelt’s New Deal. To begin, we need to elect representatives who respect science, and accept the magnitude of what we’re up against. If they do not, they must be defeated.
It’s time to put our planet first."
From my maybe uniformed perspective it seems like we’re still several scientific breakthroughs away from alternative energies and sustainable technologies being competitive and cost effective.
I’d recommend reading Factfulness if you want data based evidence for what I’m saying.
The Hell I see is the Hell the science has determined is all-but certain: the next 80 years will be a series of tragic trending videos, distant, until it directly affects _you_.
I found Unsettled,  by former Caltech provost Steven Koonin to be much more compelling. The approach is rigorous and scientific. The author is not partisan. He did work for BP but also served in the Obama administration. He brings to the climate debate a rational skepticism that is typically discouraged in polite/liberal company. IMO it was at least 2x as compelling as Apocalypse Never.
Fact is that without the fear mongering about nuclear energy decades ago we'd probably be carbon neutral by now
Shellenberger is just next in the long list of industry shills who peddle the same misinformation and then complain when researchers get mad at him, claiming endless victimhood.
Yes, it isn't sound logical thinking to say "tons of relevant experts in this field think this guy is an idiot." But it definitely is a strong bayesian update.