Climate Change: We're Doomed

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Fri Nov 23, 2012 5:34 am

Oil consumption and climate change go hand in hand.

If we keep using oil (which we will), the planet cooks.

The economics and politics behind oil are crucial to understanding how climate change will play out on the human level.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Jnana » Fri Nov 23, 2012 6:09 am

Huseng wrote:As I understand it alternative energy sources like solar and wind cannot produce the same level of energy as fossil fuels do (particularly oil) and moreover there are hidden energy subsidies in such power sources (think of all the machinery, oil and infrastructure which goes into building a single solar panel from the trucks to the asphalt roads to the food fed to the workers).

There's also the invisible subsidy of social complexity which is a direct result of fossil fuel use. A barrel of oil is equal to about eleven years of human labour as I recall, which means that a lot of people are freed from food production for other professions such as developing solar panel technology. Without fossil fuels it is impossible that we could sustain, let alone develop (important for the third world), our current level of complexity.

We could live much much simpler lifestyles with small wind turbines on the roof, but that would mean having a limited electricity supply which was unstable. But countries like the US and her client states would rather pillage oil rich nations than willingly sacrifice and simplify. India and China are dependent on growing standards of living for their stability.

Change will come, but it won't be comfortable. Every single drop of affordable oil will be pumped and burned because our entire industrial civilization depends on it and the alternative is destitution.

Clearly, any degree of meaningful response will require a major reduction in energy consumption among industrialized countries and a major disinvestment in fossil fuel companies. Calls for the latter are now being publicly voiced by the activists involved in the Do the Math campaign:

    Together we’ll mount an unprecedented campaign to cut off the industry’s financial and political support by divesting our schools, churches and government from fossil fuels.

    This won’t be easy: we’re up against the most profitable, powerful, and dangerous industry in history. But we have our own currency: creativity, courage and if needed, our bodies.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Fri Nov 23, 2012 7:17 am

Huseng wrote:Oil consumption and climate change go hand in hand.
If we keep using oil (which we will), the planet cooks.
The economics and politics behind oil are crucial to understanding how climate change will play out on the human level.

Hi, Huseng,
If that is a reply to my previous post it is sadly deficient. It amounts merely to a refusal to admit that you might be missing something important.
That's your choice, of course, but it's not a very useful contribution to the conversation.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Fri Nov 23, 2012 7:53 am

Jnana wrote:Some recent broadcast media programs:

Bill Moyers & Company: Naomi Klein on Capitalism and Climate Change

PBS Frontline: Climate of Doubt

Btw, I do appreciate the efforts you've made Kim, to clarify the issues involved in climate change here and on Dhamma Wheel.

Hi, Jnana,
Thanks for the kind words. :emb:
Thanks for the links, too - both good. I had already seen "Climate of Doubt", but the links on that page are all worthwhile, too.
I liked Klein's interview. I haven't read her book, The Shock Doctrine, but it sounds like a useful follow-up to Merchants of Doubt.
And I think she is heading in the right direction when she argues we need to move away from laissez-faire capitalism, although we must bear in mind that she is talking particularly about the extreme US version of laissez-faire capitalism, not the more moderate (and, IMO, rational) versions found in the EU, Australia, etc. Power corrupts, and the big corporations have been allowed too much power for far too long. The US political 'reform' that let them funnel unlimited amounts of money to politicians through the super-PACs is an unmitigated disaster.
That's a bit OT, though, so I will say no more.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:14 pm

Here's a good piece by Chris Hedges on the recent World Bank report on climate change:

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/sta ... _20121126/

Humans must immediately implement a series of radical measures to halt carbon emissions or prepare for the collapse of entire ecosystems and the displacement, suffering and death of hundreds of millions of the globe’s inhabitants, according to a report commissioned by the World Bank. The continued failure to respond aggressively to climate change, the report warns, will mean that the planet will inevitably warm by at least 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, ushering in an apocalypse.


Meanwhile several governments and big companies are organizing themselves for oil extraction in the Arctic...
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:09 am

Huseng wrote:Here's a good piece by Chris Hedges on the recent World Bank report on climate change:

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/sta ... _20121126/

Humans must immediately implement a series of radical measures to halt carbon emissions or prepare for the collapse of entire ecosystems and the displacement, suffering and death of hundreds of millions of the globe’s inhabitants, according to a report commissioned by the World Bank. The continued failure to respond aggressively to climate change, the report warns, will mean that the planet will inevitably warm by at least 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, ushering in an apocalypse.


Meanwhile several governments and big companies are organizing themselves for oil extraction in the Arctic...

It's a 'good piece' according to your mind-set, Huseng, because it feeds right into your doom-and-gloom scenario. I don't know Hedges but a quick bit of research suggests he's on the right (i.e. left) side of politics but inclined to exaggerate everything for the sake of a good headline - 'apocalypse', for instance, is his word, not the World Bank's word.
Meanwhile, 'several governments and big companies are organizing themselves for oil extraction in the Arctic,' as you say, but they haven't done it yet and with enough opposition on the ground from people like me and (if you will stop sitting on your hands) you, they won't do it - or at least won't do it as soon or as quickly. And every delay is a wedge.

Meanwhile ...
http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2012/11/26/microsoft-debut-sewage-powered-data-center
http://energy.gov/articles/clean-cities-expands-and-strengthens-nationwide-partnerships
http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/mlinperrella/california_ships_required_to_u.html?utm_source=tw&utm_medium=tweet&utm_campaign=blog
http://www.freshdialogues.com/2012/06/01/apples-icloud-to-be-insanely-green/
http://cleantechnica.com/2012/11/16/utah-state-university-introduces-wireless-electric-bus/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+IM-cleantechnica+%28CleanTechnica%29
- just a few recent initiatives from one country.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:04 am

... and another one which might raise a smile: http://climaterealityproject.org/

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Myoho-Nameless » Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:41 pm

(I have not read this thread all the way through)
In my geology class we are calling this the "anthropocene extinction", the 6th major extinction on Earth....on a side note, it should be noted that by the time asteroid hit mexico the vast majority of dinosaurs were already extinct, there are no fossils from the era, they were already dead or most were, excluding small carnivorous which became birds. They were already dead from either sickness and parasites (due to lowing ocean levels and connecting land bridges..bringing populations together) or.........climate change. well this sucks.
only...humans are smart
In researching a paper for my environmental science class I came across the fail proof solution to the energy problem, solar. LUNAR solar. you can stick solar panels on the moon, lots of them, HUGE ones the size of cities maybe, with no atmosphere to bug you, and two solid weeks of daylight. put lots of them here and there, because the two solid weeks of daylight is followed by the same amount of night. but you can convert the energy to microwaves and beam them to receptors back on Earth, if you have enough of these things and receptors on Earth...that is problem solved. So Newt was right, the solution is moonbases. Space might be where it is at for manufacturing too, no need to asplod mountains on Earth when maybe you can get iron ore from asteroids....

we survived a supervolcano eons in the past and our population was a tiny fraction of what it is today.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:41 am

Hi, M-N,
Thanks for that suggestion. I like solar power, too, but I don't see any need to go as far as the moon for a good location, or wait until we have the technology to put it there. How about ...
Nevada - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Giant_photovoltaic_array.jpg
Spain - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gemasolar.jpg
Even the Netherlands (not noted for its constant sunshine):
images-1.jpeg
images-1.jpeg (13.04 KiB) Viewed 1021 times


Or your own rooftop?
Australia, with a population of 22 million, has 800 0000 domestic solar installations, half of them installed in the last year. See this (rather muddled) article - http://www.greenworldinvestor.com/2012/10/10/800000-australian-solar-households-pose-survival-questions-for-australian-electricity-utilities/ - for what that is doing to suppliers reliant on fossil fuel.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby viniketa » Sat Dec 01, 2012 7:40 am

Urine-powered generator unveiled at international exhibition

While this is more of an outstanding science project than a viable invention at this point, it serves to demonstrate that there might be new developments in the production of energy in the near future that we cannot imagine at this point.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby greentara » Sat Dec 01, 2012 1:29 pm

Massive, burgeoning population is the elephant in the room that governments refuse to discuss openly. With the corporate sector only thinking of profit and exploiting all natural resources, rivers,oceans oil exploration... there is no end to it. The powers that be pretend to sound green but the first thing they do is 'pull the rug' on solar rebates to placate the interests of the huge electricity companies. It's hard to be optimistic with the insatiable corporate sector running the show.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Sat Dec 01, 2012 2:09 pm

viniketa wrote:Urine-powered generator unveiled at international exhibition

While this is more of an outstanding science project than a viable invention at this point, it serves to demonstrate that there might be new developments in the production of energy in the near future that we cannot imagine at this point.

:namaste:



Unless someone comes up with synthetic abiotic oil which packs the same punch as the original stuff, we're going to be living in energy scarce circumstances and all the problems that come with it.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Sat Dec 01, 2012 2:36 pm

greentara wrote:Massive, burgeoning population is the elephant in the room that governments refuse to discuss openly. ... The powers that be pretend to sound green but the first thing they do is 'pull the rug' on solar rebates to placate the interests of the huge electricity companies. It's hard to be optimistic with the insatiable corporate sector running the show.


Overpopulation is of course an undeniable issue, though on one hand we promote civil rights and democratic values and on the other in such a system you cannot realistically cut down on population growth unless you give women education and careers (people have the right to have as many children as they wish). However, education and careers require resources, consumption and economic growth which lead to further demands on the environment.

The insatiable corporate sector is a reflection of insatiable people. While the Wal-mart customer might not openly condone slave labor in Asia producing their $2 shirts, they still continue to purchase them. They might be aware that owning an SUV is probably bad for the atmosphere, but they keep driving it anyway. They might not like the idea of a highway plowing through a serene forest, but they'll still use it and pay taxes which build it. Why? Because they gain much from all these things -- cheap clothes, social status and convenience. The elites that the masses support offer out enough of the unearned pie to make enough people happy to support their power base.

Most people are basically immoral and degenerate, which is why they produce the leaders and social arrangements that they do.

Stop and consider why the industrial revolution started off in a very militaristic and aggressive culture (Britain).

If we want to know who to blame for climate change and corporate takeover of government, we need only look in the mirror.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:49 pm

Huseng wrote:If we want to know who to blame for climate change and corporate takeover of government, we need only look in the mirror.

And if we want to know who can - and should - do something about it, we only need to look in the mirror.
We are this season’s people.
We are all the people there are, this season.
If we blow it, it’s blown.
— Shlomo Carlebach


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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby greentara » Sun Dec 02, 2012 12:51 am

Of course I agree with you. There has to be a groundswell of protest, opposition and a complete change of consumption habits. Of course if you stick your neck out, all we have to do is look at Assange’s ordeal which made headlines again recently. He had some powerful backers who have all but disappeared. He is unwell, trapped and seems to have been abandoned. The whole situation makes many thoughtful people nervous.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Sun Dec 02, 2012 1:28 am

greentara wrote:Of course I agree with you. There has to be a groundswell of protest, opposition and a complete change of consumption habits. Of course if you stick your neck out, all we have to do is look at Assange’s ordeal which made headlines again recently. He had some powerful backers who have all but disappeared. He is unwell, trapped and seems to have been abandoned. The whole situation makes many thoughtful people nervous.

Hi, greentara,
Yes, sometimes we need a bit of courage and sometimes we will suffer some kind of reprisals. But Assange is not a climate-change campaigner and he is in this much trouble because he took on the biggest and most arrogant target possible - the US military.
If you wanted more typical examples of what happens to people who put themselves on the line for environmental causes, you would look at people like
Rachel Carson (Silent Spring) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rep-ed-markey/50-years-after-rachel-car_b_1919597.html
Michael Mann and Phil Jones (climate scientists at the centre of Climategate) http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/11/one-year-later/
But even these people are not typical, since they are (were) high-profile scientists. How about ordinary people?
Tree-sitter in Tasmania http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-06-14/tree-sitter-vows-to-continue/4070860
Sea Shepherd anti-whaling protesters http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-11-30/sea-shepherd-using-drones-to-find-japanese-whalers/4401534?section=tas
But we don't have to go that far to have some impact on the problem, and our efforts needn't have any negative impact on our work or social life. Turn of unneeded lights, ride your bike to work ... all that sort of thing - I'm sure you have seen lists. Choose not to be doomed. :tongue:

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Sun Dec 02, 2012 3:54 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:And if we want to know who can - and should - do something about it, we only need to look in the mirror.


Well, I think a lot of people would be initially opposed to drilling for oil in the Arctic, but then at the same time if their current lifestyle became too expensive as a result of not drilling, they'll probably just shrug and think the drilling is just necessary.

Money and creature comforts generally come before environmental concerns, unless the latter are immediately endangering people (like radiation or toxic chemicals causing birth defects).

We need only look at how readily rain forests are hacked down in the tropics by the locals. We're all concerned about the ape populations in Indonesia, but the locals need money as they transition from agriculture to a cash economy, and logging operations are a source of income for them. They want their iPhones, too. Eco-tourism by privileged foreigners won't generate the same amount of jobs for locals.

As I said, even if first world citizens decided to sacrifice for the sake of the environment (which they generally won't), you still need to ask India, China and Indonesia among other up and coming nations to do the same, which is politically infeasible because stability depends on industrialization and the elites maintain their positions by pushing economic growth.

We also have a system where economic power (which is now equal to environmental destruction) is tied in with military power, and nations are seldom willing to voluntarily reduce military power.

So you can try to disrupt Shell gas stations in protest, but that doesn't change the political and economic realities of the world.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby greentara » Sun Dec 02, 2012 4:32 am

kim, Thanks I know all about Rachel Carson and the Tree sitter in Tasmania. The problem is if you wish to protest about 'softer issues' like feminism and gay rights the government will allow you to wave your placards. The moment you raise your voice against the banks and the big end of town, they'll shut you down very fast! Huseng is spot on "still need to ask India, China and Indonesia among other up and coming nations to do the same, which is politically infeasible because stability depends on industrialization and the elites maintain their positions by pushing economic growth." We're talking billions of people in the third world and they have clout! You can be scared, angry or both but you still have to be realistic about what can really be done regarding the exploitation and degradation of the environment.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:42 am

greentara wrote:kim, Thanks I know all about Rachel Carson and the Tree sitter in Tasmania.

Good! :smile:
greentara wrote:The moment you raise your voice against the banks and the big end of town, they'll shut you down very fast!

Not true - or only about 5% true, anyway (unless you live in China, Iran or under a similarly repressive regime - and even there, people get away with quite a lot). In places like Australia, Europe and the US, fringe groups are tolerated even when some of their actions are perhaps illegal, and genuine dissent from people with a stake in the issue is generally given a hearing. In time, the fringe groups become mainstream if they attract enough support - for instance, our Greens party, now with members in federal and some state parliaments, began as a group of radical greenies getting themselves arrested for chaining themselves to bulldozers in the Tasmanian wilderness. As for the gentler side of affirmative environmental action, it is positively celebrated - Landcare and so on are given government grants for community engagement programmes.
greentara wrote:Huseng is spot on "still need to ask India, China and Indonesia among other up and coming nations to do the same, which is politically infeasible because stability depends on industrialization and the elites maintain their positions by pushing economic growth."

I don't think Huseng is 'spot on' at all with that claim. That's the second time he has made it but he hasn't presented any evidence for it and I haven't seen any evidence anywhere else. I think he - and you, in turn - have swallowed a narrative that is designed to inhibit any action. You are not the only ones, and I am not the only one to speak against it, as you will see from this bit of discussion on RealClimate:
RealClimate wrote:Superman1 wrote: “To dodge the major impending climate catastrophe that we project today, harsh restrictions on energy use by all global citizens will be required”

That is just plain false.

Photovoltaic panels installed on all the flat commercial rooftops in the USA would generate more electricity than all the nuclear power plants in the country. Concentrating solar thermal power plants on just five percent of the USA’s deserts would generate more electricity than the entire country uses. The same is true of the wind energy resources of just four midwestern states.

And those examples represent just a small fraction of the USA’s vast solar and wind energy resources. According to a study by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, “At least three-fifths of the fifty states could meet all their internal electricity needs from renewable energy generated inside their borders.”

The fact is that we have abundant, endless sources of energy, and we have the mature and powerful technologies needed to harvest those sources, and those technologies are getting more powerful and less expensive every day.

Moreover, because we waste so much energy, we have an enormous opportunity to get more utility out of the energy we consume simply by implementing the most obvious and lowest-cost efficiency measures.

I don’t know why you insist on pretending otherwise. Frankly, your comments often read like coal industry propaganda of the sort designed to discourage people from supporting action to reduce emissions by scaring them with “if we stop burning coal we’ll all have to shiver in the dark and live in caves” alarmism.

Comment by SecularAnimist
(From the Comments to http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/11/climatedialogue-exploring-different-views-on-climate-change/)
Finally, you said, "You can be scared, angry or both but you still have to be realistic about what can really be done regarding the exploitation and degradation of the environment."
I'm neither scared nor angry but I believe I am still realistic - and I have chosen to act as best I can within my (self-determined) limits. Letting myself be bluffed into doing nothing is as bad for my fellow sentient beings as not caring in the first place, and I think doing nothing while the world walks off an environmental cliff is as unethical as letting a blind man step off the footpath in front of a bus.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Nemo » Sun Dec 02, 2012 1:04 pm

I worked full time as an environmentalist in the 80's. The decision was made not to fix the problem. The problem will look after itself. Not in a good way. I'd recommend not having kids. Things will probably be bearable for our lifetime. I don't waste much of my time on it anymore. I do still occasionally travel to see amazing things like coral reefs or old growth forests. I can no longer find huge schools of fish or the massive flocks of birds that still live in the memories of my youth.

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