Author Topic: Climate Change Catchment Thread  (Read 43008 times)

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Offline 2397

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Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #525 on: May 09, 2019, 05:37:33 PM »
The problem is massive, and it will probably take centuries to undo the damage we have done, the parts that can be undone, at least. Still, all the more reason to start it now. And all those initiatives from various corners are steps in the right direction.

We can make changes to the climate, atmospheric conditions, ice and sea levels, etc., at any time, as long as we have a civilization with the resources and energy generation to do it. Probably at a slower rate than we're currently wrecking it as we're putting nearly all of our energy into wrecking it, and fusion still isn't happening for the foreseeable future.

But there's no bringing back the species that are going extinct at an increasing rate. A bit of DNA from a number of species isn't going to do us any good when their ecosystem is gone. If it takes us centuries to deal with the climate, it will take millions of years for biodiversity to return to previous levels.

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THE EXTINCTION CRISIS

It's frightening but true: Our planet is now in the midst of its sixth mass extinction of plants and animals — the sixth wave of extinctions in the past half-billion years. We're currently experiencing the worst spate of species die-offs since the loss of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Although extinction is a natural phenomenon, it occurs at a natural “background” rate of about one to five species per year. Scientists estimate we're now losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the background rate, with literally dozens going extinct every day [1]. It could be a scary future indeed, with as many as 30 to 50 percent of all species possibly heading toward extinction by mid-century [2].

Unlike past mass extinctions, caused by events like asteroid strikes, volcanic eruptions, and natural climate shifts, the current crisis is almost entirely caused by us — humans. In fact, 99 percent of currently threatened species are at risk from human activities, primarily those driving habitat loss, introduction of exotic species, and global warming [3]. Because the rate of change in our biosphere is increasing, and because every species' extinction potentially leads to the extinction of others bound to that species in a complex ecological web, numbers of extinctions are likely to snowball in the coming decades as ecosystems unravel.

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PLANTS
Through photosynthesis, plants provide the oxygen we breathe and the food we eat and are thus the foundation of most life on Earth. They're also the source of a majority of medicines in use today. Of the more than 300,000 known species of plants, the IUCN has evaluated only 12,914 species, finding that about 68 percent of evaluated plant species are threatened with extinction.

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Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #526 on: May 09, 2019, 06:39:08 PM »
Well, I don't know about hopelessly naive... I may just be a pessimist on this issue. I think people have kind of gotten the message, and politicians in many countries pay lip service to it, but I see a lot of thumb twiddling when it comes to actually curbing emissions. In fact, emission rates are still going up - let alone actually reducing the CO2 that's already in the atmosphere. The Paris Agreement was a step in the right direction, but it was a wishy-washy agreement with no enforcement mechanisms and as such largely impotent.
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Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #527 on: May 10, 2019, 01:00:40 PM »
Well, I don't know about hopelessly naive... I may just be a pessimist on this issue. I think people have kind of gotten the message, and politicians in many countries pay lip service to it, but I see a lot of thumb twiddling when it comes to actually curbing emissions. In fact, emission rates are still going up - let alone actually reducing the CO2 that's already in the atmosphere. The Paris Agreement was a step in the right direction, but it was a wishy-washy agreement with no enforcement mechanisms and as such largely impotent.

I am a microcosm of this macroscopic idea.  I know that plastic is a problem, but I hate washing dishes, so I use disposable plastic cups.  I feel guilty for this, but I haven't mustered up the oomph to change my behavior.  I think society is the same way.  Most people agree that something should be done, and most people recognize what they are doing is a problem, but they just don't want to change.  I have faith in humanity as individuals to continue this behavior until we are all dead.  However, I am optimistic that these same people would support governmental regulation to curb their own behavior.  I would vote for a change that limits my ability to use plastic cups for example, even though I don't have the willpower to stop using them on my own.  So, while I am pessimistic about a human's ability to curb environmental catastrophe, I am optimistic about humankind's collective desire to do something.  Alright, maybe I'm not optimistic, but I am hopeful.
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Offline 2397

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Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #528 on: May 10, 2019, 01:17:14 PM »
Norway might be banning various single use plastics in 2020, getting a head start on the EU ban (which would affect us through the EEA) in 2021.

https://www.lifeinnorway.net/disposable-plastic-ban/

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20190321IPR32111/parliament-seals-ban-on-throwaway-plastics-by-2021

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On Wednesday, Parliament approved a new law banning single-use plastic items such as plates, cutlery, straws and cotton buds sticks.

560 MEPs voted in favour of the agreement with EU ministers, 35 against and 28 abstained.

The following products will be banned in the EU by 2021:

    Single-use plastic cutlery (forks, knives, spoons and chopsticks)
    Single-use plastic plates
    Plastic straws
    Cotton bud sticks made of plastic
    Plastic balloon sticks
    Oxo-degradable plastics and food containers and expanded polystyrene cups

New recycling target and more responsibility for producers

Member states will have to achieve a 90% collection target for plastic bottles by 2029, and plastic bottles will have to contain at least 25% of recycled content by 2025 and 30% by 2030.

The agreement also strengthens the application of the polluter pays principle, in particular for tobacco, by introducing extended responsibility for producers. This new regime will also apply to fishing gear, to ensure that manufacturers, and not fishermen, bear the costs of collecting nets lost at sea.

Tangentially related to the climate. Getting rid of plastics won't reduce GHG emissions. Only reduced consumption can accomplish that, in that context. Cleaning with heated water uses comparable amounts of energy to producing and shipping lightweight plastic items, and plastic packaging helps reduce food waste. But it would be nice to not be drinking and eating plastic every day because of it being everywhere.

Offline Soldier of FORTRAN

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Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #529 on: May 10, 2019, 04:12:07 PM »


Article: Burger King is rolling out meatless Impossible Whoppers nationwide
From: The Verge
Date: 2019 APR 29

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Burger King is rolling out the Impossible Whopper nationwide, after a successful trial run testing the meatless burger in St. Louis. The chain announced in a statement today that it plans to test in more markets before distributing the burger nationally by the end of this year.

The Impossible Whopper is made with startup Impossible Foods’ plant-based patties, which are designed to look and taste like meat. The patties are also designed to “bleed,” just like the real thing, which can be attributed to the use of heme, a soy-based compound found in plants and meat. The burgers have 15 percent less fat and 90 percent less cholesterol than regular Whoppers, and Burger King’s taste test experiments claim that customers and employees can’t tell the difference.

Meatless options are gaining popularity at more fast food restaurants. White Castle offers Impossible Burgers, which uses another meat-free patty recipe from Impossible Foods, and Carl’s Jr. sells a veggie burger made by Beyond Meat, a competitor to Impossible Foods.

Product Substitution could grease the skids on reducing meat consumption/production.  Hope this all keeps up.
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Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #530 on: May 10, 2019, 07:31:02 PM »
I am a microcosm of this macroscopic idea.  I know that plastic is a problem, but I hate washing dishes, so I use disposable plastic cups.  I feel guilty for this, but I haven't mustered up the oomph to change my behavior.  I think society is the same way.  Most people agree that something should be done, and most people recognize what they are doing is a problem, but they just don't want to change.  I have faith in humanity as individuals to continue this behavior until we are all dead.  However, I am optimistic that these same people would support governmental regulation to curb their own behavior.  I would vote for a change that limits my ability to use plastic cups for example, even though I don't have the willpower to stop using them on my own.  So, while I am pessimistic about a human's ability to curb environmental catastrophe, I am optimistic about humankind's collective desire to do something.  Alright, maybe I'm not optimistic, but I am hopeful.

My opinion has always been that there's no way we are ever going to get the percentage of people acting conscientiously that we need to. It's just a tragedy of the commons cliché. Hell, I've been increasingly concerned about climate change over the past 15 years but it took until 2 years ago before I switched my plan to 100% wind power, and my computer is on at all times. And I am a big old carnivore, too. Most people are not just going to give up on luxuries they've had for years. I think the only way forward is to make available equally good alternatives that are not harmful at the same or a lower price. And that can have all sorts of side benefits, like creating new industries, reducing health damage, and so on. But in order to get off those industries of the ground in the face of well-established competition we need research and development that is funded by governments. Fund this type of research and companies with the right ideas by actually taxing fossil fuel companies and other polluters as much as they should be taxed (and no more hidden externalities either), and we could be there in no time. But the political will...
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Offline lonely moa

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Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #531 on: May 12, 2019, 02:12:16 PM »
(the political will)...is sadly lacking. 

Our ship is taking in water and the pumps have not (and will not) reach equilibrium without a sea change by everyone.  Unfortunately for us, the ship is so low in the water it could be easy swamped, and sunk, by any rogue wave. 

Lowering our consumption of fossil fuels will not (and can not) lower the CO2 level in the atmosphere.  There is no way of sequestering atmospheric carbon quickly enough to prevent disaster.  We are past "tipping points" and now have discovered events like the collapse of the Ross Ice Shelf.

Game over, IMHO.
"Pull the goalie", Malcolm Gladwell.

Offline 2397

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Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #532 on: May 12, 2019, 03:17:35 PM »
I think it's still a solvable problem, and it's only that lack of will that's the barrier, other than new technologies making it easier in spite of the lack of will.

NATO countries are supposed to spend 2% of their GDP on the military. Many don't, but the US spent 3.6% of GDP in 2017 according to Forbes.

We should be able to have an industry of combating climate change at a similar scale to other large government departments. It would definitely be worth it, vs. human civilization being regressed to a level that it might never recover from.

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Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #533 on: May 12, 2019, 04:05:08 PM »
Game over, IMHO.

Oh I strongly disagree with that. For one thing, just assuming defeat is not a helpful attitude to have. It's just kind of paralyzing. And while we're moving way too slow, we are finally taking baby steps in the right direction now. I have a reasonable degree of confidence that we can develop the necessary technologies to reverse at least the worst of the problems we're facing, especially when it comes to climate change, and I think we will do that as the gravity of the situation becomes increasingly obvious to more and more people. One might be cynical about political will and the influence of money on politics, but the fact is the next few generations of billionaires will have to live in that world, too, and I suspect they like clean air and water and lush natural habitats almost as much as the rest of us. And the natural world does have a tendency to bounce back from some pretty severe abuse, so while it may take thousands of years to regain the diversity we had maybe two hundred years ago, I don't think it's so bleak as to be hopeless, or "game over". So I'm not particularly optimistic, and I think some awfully depressing stuff is happening and will continue to happen for some time to come, but I don't think we're doomed, either.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2019, 05:41:50 PM by werecow »
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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #534 on: May 12, 2019, 04:50:54 PM »
werecow, you pretty much summarized my position. :)

I would add that we already have the necessary technology to make the shift.
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Offline lonely moa

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Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #535 on: May 13, 2019, 04:45:26 AM »
Tell me how we get back to 350 ppm, please.
"Pull the goalie", Malcolm Gladwell.

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Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #536 on: May 13, 2019, 05:13:49 AM »
Tell me how we get back to 350 ppm, please.

Or how do we roll-out carbon-neutral energy and food production in a few years, re-forest huge chunks of the planet and basically end all extractive industries.


While the super rich are either outright murdering the planet or pouring their resources into getting the hell out as fast as they can.

Offline 2397

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Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #537 on: May 13, 2019, 05:54:46 AM »
Tell me how we get back to 350 ppm, please.

Tax carbon (and equivalent) emissions to the full extent of the damages they're estimated to cause. Spend the money on the poor to avoid killing people by doing this, and/or implement UBI, which would also get us away from the culture of it being better to pay people to do pointless things (which wastes resources) than for people to be able to survive in spite of not having a well-paying job.

Implement the tax retroactively for any business and the estates of any individuals who have deliberately acted against actions on climate change. If they go broke, they'll be among the poor who should be taken care of in any case.

Stop all subsidies and tax breaks for industry and agriculture that have lower emission-/higher carbon sequestration-alternatives. Give subsidies for transition to alternatives, or for safely shutting down, and retraining.

Hire 1% of the population to plant trees, possibly with a large biologist contingent. Or make that the draft. Keep the professional military (preferably stop advertising military service to kids and as a way to pay for college, college should be made affordable for all), but require everyone to spend a year of their life actively mitigating climate change. More land becomes available for this as inefficient land use becomes too expensive to keep up with.

And scale up investments in and research of other ways of moving the carbon out of the atmosphere and oceans.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2019, 05:59:49 AM by 2397 »

Offline 2397

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Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #538 on: May 13, 2019, 06:49:22 AM »
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Global Fossil Fuel Subsidies Hit $5.2 Trillion

The world spent a staggering $4.7 trillion and $5.2 trillion on fossil fuel subsidies in 2015 and 2017, respectively, according to a new report from the International Monetary Fund. That means that in 2017 the world spent a whopping 6.5 percent of global GDP just to subsidize the consumption of fossil fuels.

China was “by far, the largest subsidizer” in 2015 at $1.4 trillion, the IMF said. The U.S. came in second at $649 billion. In other words, the U.S. spent more on fossil fuel subsidies in 2015 than it did on the bloated Pentagon budget ($599 billion in 2015). Russia spent $551 billion, the EU spent $289 billion, and India spent $209 billion. Emerging markets in Asia accounted for 40 percent of the total while the industrialized world accounted for 27 percent, with smaller percentages found in other regions.

The subsidy figure the IMF uses incorporates a variety of supports for fossil fuels, including not pricing for local air pollution, climate change and environmental costs, as well as undercharging for consumption taxes and undercharging for supply costs.

By fuel, coal is receives the most largesse, account for 44 percent of the global total. Oil was shortly behind at 41 percent, and natural gas and electricity output received 10 percent and 4 percent, respectively.

Offline lonely moa

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Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #539 on: May 13, 2019, 02:05:53 PM »
Tell me how we get back to 350 ppm, please.

Hire 1% of the population to plant trees, possibly with a large biologist contingent.
And scale up investments in and research of other ways of moving the carbon out of the atmosphere and oceans.

As Soldier of Fortran (and many climate scientists) have pointed out, planting trees is not a solution.  Covering the Great Plains with bison, wolves and cougars might help.  That's where a large part of that carbon that is in the atmosphere came from.
"Pull the goalie", Malcolm Gladwell.

 

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