Author Topic: Climate Change Catchment Thread  (Read 42381 times)

0 Members and 2 Guests are viewing this topic.

Offline Quetzalcoatl

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 4996
Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #360 on: February 10, 2019, 03:51:13 PM »
Article: How many harvests are left in your soil?
From: Farmer's Weekly
Date: 2017 SEPT 8

Quote
Speaking at a World Soil Day event in 2016, Maria-Helena Semedo, deputy director-general of natural resources at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, said that if current soil degradation rates were not reversed, all the world’s topsoil could be gone within 60 years.

This means that there may only be 60 or so harvests left to reap from the world’s soil. She says some of the main causes of soil destruction include chemical-heavy farming techniques, deforestation, which increases erosion, and global warming.

Estimates published by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, suggest that the world is losing roughly 20ha of topsoil every minute, mostly due to intensive farming.

In a recent interview with UK newspaper, The Independent, Prof Raj Patel, research professor at the University of Texas in Austin, said that industrial agriculture was bringing about the mass extinction of life on Earth.

...

Article: Plummeting insect numbers 'threaten collapse of nature'
From: The Guardian
Date: 2019 FEB 10

Quote
The world’s insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to the first global scientific review.

More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by a precipitous 2.5% a year, according to the best data available, suggesting they could vanish within a century.

...

The analysis, published in the journal Biological Conservation, says intensive agriculture is the main driver of the declines, particularly the heavy use of pesticides. Urbanisation and climate change are also significant factors.

...

The new analysis selected the 73 best studies done to date to assess the insect decline. Butterflies and moths are among the worst hit. For example, the number of widespread butterfly species fell by 58% on farmed land in England between 2000 and 2009. The UK has suffered the biggest recorded insect falls overall, though that is probably a result of being more intensely studied than most places.

...

“The main cause of the decline is agricultural intensification,” Sánchez-Bayo said. “That means the elimination of all trees and shrubs that normally surround the fields, so there are plain, bare fields that are treated with synthetic fertilisers and pesticides.” He said the demise of insects appears to have started at the dawn of the 20th century, accelerated during the 1950s and 1960s and reached “alarming proportions” over the last two decades.

He thinks new classes of insecticides introduced in the last 20 years, including neonicotinoids and fipronil, have been particularly damaging as they are used routinely and persist in the environment: “They sterilise the soil, killing all the grubs.” This has effects even in nature reserves nearby; the 75% insect losses recorded in Germany were in protected areas.


...

I don't know about you lot but I'm feeling pessimistic.

I don't want to be pessimistic, but I am.

The effects are bad already, and will become even worse. Yet if there was a serious, global effort to deal with the problem, I would be more optimistic. But there isn't.
"I’m a member of no party. I have no ideology. I’m a rationalist. I do what I can in the international struggle between science and reason and the barbarism, superstition and stupidity that’s all around us." - Christopher Hitchens

Offline Quetzalcoatl

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 4996
Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #361 on: February 10, 2019, 04:09:13 PM »
Quote
No plastic bottles, utensils or cups? That’s what some lawmakers are proposing

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Plastic bags are out. Plastic straws are on their way out.

Now Hawaii lawmakers want to take things a big step further.

They’re considering an outright ban on all sorts of single-use plastics common in the food and beverage industry, from plastic bottles to plastic utensils to plastic containers.

Senate Bill 522 has already passed through two committees and is on its way to two more.

Supporters say it’s an ambitious and broad measure that would position Hawaii as a leader in the nation ― and ensure that Hawaii’s oceans have a fighting chance as the global plastic pollution problem worsens.

Good on you, Hawaii!

(Credit where it's due: I found this on the SGU Facebook page.)
"I’m a member of no party. I have no ideology. I’m a rationalist. I do what I can in the international struggle between science and reason and the barbarism, superstition and stupidity that’s all around us." - Christopher Hitchens

Offline werecow

  • Cryptobovinologist
  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 4853
  • mooh
Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #362 on: February 11, 2019, 08:22:07 AM »
Article: Plummeting insect numbers 'threaten collapse of nature'
From: The Guardian
Date: 2019 FEB 10

Quote
The world’s insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to the first global scientific review.

More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by a precipitous 2.5% a year, according to the best data available, suggesting they could vanish within a century.

...

The analysis, published in the journal Biological Conservation, says intensive agriculture is the main driver of the declines, particularly the heavy use of pesticides. Urbanisation and climate change are also significant factors.

...

The new analysis selected the 73 best studies done to date to assess the insect decline. Butterflies and moths are among the worst hit. For example, the number of widespread butterfly species fell by 58% on farmed land in England between 2000 and 2009. The UK has suffered the biggest recorded insect falls overall, though that is probably a result of being more intensely studied than most places.

...

“The main cause of the decline is agricultural intensification,” Sánchez-Bayo said. “That means the elimination of all trees and shrubs that normally surround the fields, so there are plain, bare fields that are treated with synthetic fertilisers and pesticides.” He said the demise of insects appears to have started at the dawn of the 20th century, accelerated during the 1950s and 1960s and reached “alarming proportions” over the last two decades.

He thinks new classes of insecticides introduced in the last 20 years, including neonicotinoids and fipronil, have been particularly damaging as they are used routinely and persist in the environment: “They sterilise the soil, killing all the grubs.” This has effects even in nature reserves nearby; the 75% insect losses recorded in Germany were in protected areas.


...

I don't know about you lot but I'm feeling pessimistic.

Well it ain't good, given that over half (56%) of all extant species are insects. The only mass extinction of insects we know of is affectionately nicknamed "the great dying", so probably best not to reproduce that scenario with too much fidelity.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2019, 09:32:16 AM by werecow »
Mooohn!

Offline Sawyer

  • Well Established
  • *****
  • Posts: 1404
Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #363 on: February 11, 2019, 09:05:39 AM »
This may seem like it's coming out of left field, but fuck Freeman Dyson so hard.

I just got done finishing a book of essayist by famous scientists.  While it had a few gems, the editor had the audacity to put in a Dyson essay towards the end where he castigates climate scientists for focusing too much on the "climatic" effects of CO2 emissions and not enough on the "biological".  He puts forward some really basic biology about plant respiration and CO2 capacity, as if climate scientists have somehow been ignoring their middle-school science classes.  To be clear it's a foregone conclusion to him that all of these biological effects are good.  If there was anything of value whatsoever in the essay, it was as a snapshot of Nobel syndrome* and stubborn physicists trying to downplay the real expertise that exists in other disciplines.


*Yes I realize he never won one.

Offline werecow

  • Cryptobovinologist
  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 4853
  • mooh
Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #364 on: February 11, 2019, 09:31:28 AM »
This may seem like it's coming out of left field, but fuck Freeman Dyson so hard.

I just got done finishing a book of essayist by famous scientists.  While it had a few gems, the editor had the audacity to put in a Dyson essay towards the end where he castigates climate scientists for focusing too much on the "climatic" effects of CO2 emissions and not enough on the "biological".  He puts forward some really basic biology about plant respiration and CO2 capacity, as if climate scientists have somehow been ignoring their middle-school science classes.  To be clear it's a foregone conclusion to him that all of these biological effects are good.  If there was anything of value whatsoever in the essay, it was as a snapshot of Nobel syndrome* and stubborn physicists trying to downplay the real expertise that exists in other disciplines.


*Yes I realize he never won one.

Yeah, unfortunately Dyson has been a pretty consistent disappointment when it comes to climate science.
Mooohn!

Offline Soldier of FORTRAN

  • Reef Tank Owner
  • *********
  • Posts: 9572
  • Cache rules everything around me.
If global warming is real then how come I just felt this chill down my spine?

Offline lonely moa

  • A rather tough old bird.
  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 4957
Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #366 on: February 12, 2019, 01:07:29 AM »
This may seem like it's coming out of left field, but fuck Freeman Dyson so hard.

I just got done finishing a book of essayist by famous scientists.  While it had a few gems, the editor had the audacity to put in a Dyson essay towards the end where he castigates climate scientists for focusing too much on the "climatic" effects of CO2 emissions and not enough on the "biological".  He puts forward some really basic biology about plant respiration and CO2 capacity, as if climate scientists have somehow been ignoring their middle-school science classes.  To be clear it's a foregone conclusion to him that all of these biological effects are good.  If there was anything of value whatsoever in the essay, it was as a snapshot of Nobel syndrome* and stubborn physicists trying to downplay the real expertise that exists in other disciplines.


*Yes I realize he never won one.

Did he write about soil sequestration in his essay?  I think I heard his name mentioned in this regard.
"Pull the goalie", Malcolm Gladwell.

Offline werecow

  • Cryptobovinologist
  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 4853
  • mooh
Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #367 on: February 12, 2019, 10:36:51 AM »
The polar bear picture is somehow simultaneously sad, rage inducing, disgusting and gorgeous at the same time.

This may seem like it's coming out of left field, but fuck Freeman Dyson so hard.

I just got done finishing a book of essayist by famous scientists.  While it had a few gems, the editor had the audacity to put in a Dyson essay towards the end where he castigates climate scientists for focusing too much on the "climatic" effects of CO2 emissions and not enough on the "biological".  He puts forward some really basic biology about plant respiration and CO2 capacity, as if climate scientists have somehow been ignoring their middle-school science classes.  To be clear it's a foregone conclusion to him that all of these biological effects are good.  If there was anything of value whatsoever in the essay, it was as a snapshot of Nobel syndrome* and stubborn physicists trying to downplay the real expertise that exists in other disciplines.


*Yes I realize he never won one.

Did he write about soil sequestration in his essay?  I think I heard his name mentioned in this regard.

He's of the "we should solve all this in the future and not worry about it now" variety*, and sequestration comes up as a deus ex machina type solution for all our problems. For example, he has suggested that trees will be genetically engineered for soil carbon sequestration:
Quote
Dyson has long argued, most recently in The New York Review of Books, that genetically engineered trees might, as well as producing biofuel, combat climate change. He notes that about 8 percent of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is temporarily converted into vegetation each year by photosynthesis. Capturing some of this with trees designed and harvested for the purpose could, he suggests, reduce the amount of that gas in the air rather quickly, and so ameliorate greenhouse warming.

Ecologists are apt to see enormous problems with Dyson's notion—for example, the loss of agricultural land that would presumably result from creating vast plantations of such trees; the energetic costs of planting, harvesting, and producing fertilizer for the trees; the amount of water needed for irrigation; and the large-scale disruption of existing ecosystems. It is also unclear how much potential for improving carbon fixation rates there may really be. Not least of all, the idea seems sociologically naive. Some 12 percent of the annual net increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide is the result of deforestation. If we can't prevent existing forests from being destroyed, how can we persuade people to plant forests of genetically modified trees?
(they go on to say something to the effect of "we should research this as one option among many".)
And as realclimate notes:

Quote
The seasonal cycle in atmospheric CO2 shows that the lifetime of a CO2 molecule in the air before it is exchanged with another in the land biosphere is about 12 years. Therefore if the trees could simply be persuaded to drop diamonds instead of leaves, repairing the damage to the atmosphere could be fast, I suppose. The problem here, unrecognized by Dyson, is that the business-as-usual he’s defending would release almost as much carbon to the air by the end of the century as the entire reservoir of carbon stored on land, in living things and in soils combined. The land carbon reservoir would have to double in size in order keep up with us. This is too visionary for me to bet the farm on.

Apparently he has also claimed that:
Quote
the CO2 in the atmosphere is strongly coupled with other carbon reservoirs in the biosphere, vegetation and topsoil, which are as large or larger.  It is misleading to consider only the atmosphere and ocean,  as the climate models  do, and ignore  the other reservoirs.
I'll also quote the response:
Quote
Some highlights from the myriad studies totally debunking this claim:

  • Soils store three times as much carbon as plants and the atmosphere... Consequently, the Kyoto Protocol permits the signatory countries to count soils and forests against greenhouse gas emissions as so-called carbon sinks. [University of Zurich]
  • The response of soil microbial communities to changes in temperature increases the potential for more carbon dioxide to be released from the world's soils as global temperatures rise, scientists have revealed. [University of Exeter]
  • Increased plant growth caused by rising atmospheric carbon dioxide is associated with higher rates of carbon dioxide release from soil. If rising carbon dioxide enhances soil carbon storage at all, the effect will be small. Soil carbon may not be as stable as previously thought, and soil microbes exert more direct control on carbon buildup than global climate models represent. [U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science
  • An increase in human-made carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could initiate a chain reaction between plants and microorganisms that would unsettle one of the largest carbon reservoirs on the planet - soil. Researchers developed the first computer model to show at a global scale the complex interaction between carbon, plants and soil. [Princeton University]
  • New research has found that increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere cause soil microbes to produce more carbon dioxide, accelerating climate change. This research challenges our previous understanding about how carbon accumulates in soil. [Northern Arizona University]
  • Scientists from UC Irvine and the National Center for Atmospheric Research have developed a new computer model to measure global warming's effect on soil worldwide that accounts for how bacteria and fungi in soil control carbon. [University of California Irvine & National Center for Atmospheric Research]
  • The planet's soil releases about 60 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere each year, which is far more than that released by burning fossil fuels. Short-term warming studies have documented that rising temperatures increase the rate of soil respiration. As a result, scientists have worried that global warming would accelerate the decomposition of carbon in the soil, releasing more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and accelerating global warming. [Carnegie Institution]
  • Vast stores of carbon in U.S. forest soils could be released by rising global temperatures, according to a study by UC Irvine and other researchers in a recent online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. [University of California – Irvine]
(there's also a lengthy response in there to his statement that "the biological  effects of CO2 in the atmosphere are beneficial, both to food crops  and to natural vegetation. The biological  effects are better known and probably more  important than  the climatic effects" that you may find relevant.)

* He's also a "lukewarmer" who doesn't trust climate models and feels free to criticize them on specific points, but does not appear to understand how they actually work, claims that he accepts that climate change is probably man made but then keeps harping on debunked natural causes, and makes claims like "climate change may be a good thing for people living at high latitudes" (paraphrasing; see the slideshow debunking his "concerns" above).

EDIT: A bit more here, though it is written by a non-expert and strikes me as a bit naive given that he comes up with radically different number from the above based on admitted guess work. But it does point out that apparently Dyson has two publications on soil sequestration from the late 70s.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2019, 11:04:21 AM by werecow »
Mooohn!

Offline Quetzalcoatl

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 4996
Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #368 on: February 12, 2019, 02:50:43 PM »
Based on Rai's comment in the other thread that 100 companies are responsible for the 70% of emissions, I googled and found this:

Quote
Just 100 companies responsible for 71% of global emissions, study says

A relatively small number of fossil fuel producers and their investors could hold the key to tackling climate change

Investors should move out of fossil fuels, says Michael Brune, executive director of US environmental organisation the Sierra Club. “Not only is it morally risky, it’s economically risky. The world is moving away from fossil fuels towards clean energy and is doing so at an accelerated pace. Those left holding investments in fossil fuel companies will find their investments becoming more and more risky over time.”

There is a “growing wave of companies that are acting in the opposite manner to the companies in this report,” says Brune. Nearly 100 companies including Apple, Facebook, Google and Ikea have committed to 100% renewable power under the RE100 initiative. Volvo recently announced that all its cars would be electric or hybrid from 2019.

And oil and gas companies are also embarking on green investments. Shell set up a renewables arm in 2015 with a $1.7bn investment attached and a spokesperson for Chevron says it’s “committed to managing its [greenhouse gas] emissions” and is investing in two of the world’s largest carbon dioxide injection projects to capture and store carbon. A BP spokesperson says its “determined to be part of the solution” for climate change and is “investing in renewables and low-carbon innovation.” And ExxonMobil, which has faced heavy criticism for its environmental record, has been exploring carbon capture and storage.

But for many the sums involved and pace of change are nowhere near enough. A research paper published last year by Paul Stevens, an academic at think tank Chatham House, said international oil companies were no longer fit for purpose and warned these multinationals that they faced a “nasty, brutish and short” end within the next 10 years if they did not completely change their business models.

Perhaps I am naive, but I find this a glimmer of optimism. The snake has a pretty small head, so to speak. A lot of big companies are moving in a greener direction, and even the head of the snake seems to be pressured into making some half-assed changes.

What is your assessment?
"I’m a member of no party. I have no ideology. I’m a rationalist. I do what I can in the international struggle between science and reason and the barbarism, superstition and stupidity that’s all around us." - Christopher Hitchens

Offline werecow

  • Cryptobovinologist
  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 4853
  • mooh
Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #369 on: February 12, 2019, 08:40:23 PM »
Depends... If those companies include energy and especially fossil fuel companies I don't see them switching to 100% renewables any time soon.

EDIT: And of course

Quote
ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Chevron are identified as among the highest emitting investor-owned companies since 1988. If fossil fuels continue to be extracted at the same rate over the next 28 years as they were between 1988 and 2017, says the report, global average temperatures would be on course to rise by 4C by the end of the century. This is likely to have catastrophic consequences including substantial species extinction and global food scarcity risks.

EDIT 2: From the PDF, the top 20:

Quote
China (Coal) 9,622 119,312 128,933 14.3
Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Aramco) 4,263 36,298 40,561 4.5
Gazprom OAO 4,652 30,569 35,221 3.9
National Iranian Oil Co 2,468 18,037 20,505 2.3
ExxonMobil Corp 1,833 15,952 17,785 2.0
Coal India 892 15,950 16,842 1.9
Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) 2,055 14,749 16,804 1.9
Russia (Coal) 1,216 15,524 16,740 1.9
Royal Dutch Shell PLC 1,212 13,805 15,017 1.7
China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) 1,479 12,564 14,042 1.6
BP PLC 1,072 12,719 13,791 1.5
Chevron Corp 1,215 10,608 11,823 1.3
Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) 1,108 9,971 11,079 1.2
Abu Dhabi National Oil Co 1,135 9,635 10,769 1.2
Poland Coal 884 9,596 10,480 1.2
Peabody Energy Corp 266 10,098 10,364 1.2
Sonatrach SPA 1,490 7,507 8,997 1.0
Kuwait Petroleum Corp 767 8,194 8,961 1.0
Total SA 778 7,762 8,541 0.9
BHP Billiton Ltd 588 7,595 8,183 0.9

Kind of what you'd expect, but I see little hope of changing these companies' policies without some major changes to our economic policies and energy infrastructure.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2019, 08:53:10 PM by werecow »
Mooohn!

Offline Rai

  • PIZZASAURUS
  • Global Moderator
  • Too Much Spare Time
  • *****
  • Posts: 6903
Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #370 on: February 13, 2019, 04:42:28 AM »
Kind of what you'd expect, but I see little hope of changing these companies' policies without some major changes to our economic policies and energy infrastructure.

My point from the other thread stands. We need to bring it all down, or these greedy bastards will bring us all down for profit.

Many of these companies have been aware of climate change for decades and they have been actively and very effectively lobbying to destroy the planet for financial gain.

Offline werecow

  • Cryptobovinologist
  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 4853
  • mooh
Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #371 on: February 13, 2019, 08:38:30 AM »
You won't hear me disagreeing with that. I'm just wondering how. And questioning Quetz's glimmer of optimism, unfortunately.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2019, 08:41:08 AM by werecow »
Mooohn!

Offline 2397

  • Frequent Poster
  • ******
  • Posts: 2777
Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #372 on: February 13, 2019, 09:26:09 AM »
I partially agree, but if we achieve the political power to overthrow them, then we'll have the power to do lots of things that we should be doing and aren't.

Offline werecow

  • Cryptobovinologist
  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 4853
  • mooh
Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #373 on: February 13, 2019, 09:44:12 AM »
I partially agree, but if we achieve the political power to overthrow them, then we'll have the power to do lots of things that we should be doing and aren't.

And even if we have the political will it's going to take a lot of technological progress and massive investment. Most of the companies in that top 100 are energy and/or FF companies, and they're enormous. Note that #1 is literally "China". That's actually not one company, but all Chinese coal companies together (they did the same thing for Russia). That's half of the world's coal production, according to the PDF, and 14.3% of global cumulative emissions since 1988.
Together these 100 companies make up a huge part of our global energy infrastructure, which is something we can't do without. Overhauling that globally in the maybe two decades we have seems very hard to imagine.
Mooohn!

Offline Rai

  • PIZZASAURUS
  • Global Moderator
  • Too Much Spare Time
  • *****
  • Posts: 6903
Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #374 on: February 13, 2019, 10:04:12 AM »
The most awkward thing is that the end of the world is certain, but it is far enough away that we can't just quit our jobs and enjoy it while we can.

That being said, everyone stopping working to just hang out and enjoy life would be a good solution to the question of "how to destroy late capitalism and save the planet"