Climate Change: We're Doomed

Alleviating worldly suffering along the way.

Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:45 pm

pueraeternus wrote:I am not saying that we the people are just innocent lambs - we are culpable too, in that we already have such negative traits all along human history (as per the historical antecedents of cultures destroying themselves through uncontrolled consumption of their environmental resources). However, the purposeful exploitation and magnification of such traits as exist in the current modern world is unprecedented, and hence this time the risk envelopes the entire planet.


We're already past the point of no return by some estimates.

I think what happened with industrial civilization is that all our bad habits and afflictions got amplified several fold by high energy inputs.

For better or worse that'll come to an end sooner or later.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:55 pm

Huseng wrote:We're already past the point of no return by some estimates.

Sort-of-true, but saying it like that is almost saying, "We're doomed," which just isn't true.
But there is never any 'return' anyway - you can't step into the same river twice, the only constant in life is change, etc.
Nothing we can ever do will ever restore species which have already gone to extinction.
Huseng wrote:I think what happened with industrial civilization is that all our bad habits and afflictions got amplified several fold by high energy inputs.

Absolutely true. We spent a billion years* eating all we could find just since we didn't starve and procreating as fast as we could just so some of our progeny survived and then, in a mere couple of hundred years, were so successful that we now have to learn a whole new way of operating because those two habits are now anti-survival.
Huseng wrote:For better or worse that'll come to an end sooner or later.

We can have a crash landing or a soft landing. If those of us who are aware of the problems work hard, there is still time to soften the landing considerably - prevent lots of suffering, save lots of lives.

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* I'm counting our remote ancestors as "us", obviously, mainly because we inherited those drives from creatures which were around long before humanity. You've heard of our "lizard brains"?
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby justsit » Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:59 pm

If those of us who are aware of the problems work hard, there is still time to soften the landing considerably...

Would you offer the same conclusion that "there is still time" if, despite our hard work, "those of us who are not aware of the problem do nothing?"
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:41 am

justsit wrote:
If those of us who are aware of the problems work hard, there is still time to soften the landing considerably...

Would you offer the same conclusion that "there is still time" if, despite our hard work, "those of us who are not aware of the problem do nothing?"

Ahhh ... but a large part of our work - maybe the largest - is shrinking the the group who are not aware of the problem.
The knowledge needs to go mainstream before the practical actions will go mainstream. People's behaviour can and does change quite radically when they are given good reasons - see http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=6973&p=140686&hilit=Schmidt#p140686 for more on this.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby justsit » Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:11 am

Yes, many good points there.

However, just because people's behavior can change does not mean it does. Consider the voluminous concrete data on the dangers of too much fat in the diet, smoking as cause of cancer, etc., and still people indulge. They will change only when they have a significant incentive to do so - and unfortunately, the common good is not good enough, it must have positive personal rewards. Especially in third world countries, as puereternus pointed out - global warming is a tough sell to a man slashing and burning in the Amazon to feed his family.
And again, really effective change must occur on the appropriate scale, as the NYT article indicated; there must be hefty economic incentives to get governments and corporations to implement radical policy shifts.
I must say, Kim, I really want to agree with you. But, sadly, my experience of human nature leads me to have pretty low expectations. :shrug:
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:19 am

justsit wrote:Yes, many good points there.

However, just because people's behavior can change does not mean it does. Consider the voluminous concrete data on the dangers of too much fat in the diet, smoking as cause of cancer, etc., and still people indulge. They will change only when they have a significant incentive to do so - and unfortunately, the common good is not good enough, it must have positive personal rewards. Especially in third world countries, as puereternus pointed out - global warming is a tough sell to a man slashing and burning in the Amazon to feed his family.
And again, really effective change must occur on the appropriate scale, as the NYT article indicated; there must be hefty economic incentives to get governments and corporations to implement radical policy shifts.
I must say, Kim, I really want to agree with you. But, sadly, my experience of human nature leads me to have pretty low expectations. :shrug:

To start at the end: "human nature" is malleable to some extent (why else do we end up on DW, for goodness' sake?) but self-interest is a constant. However, action on global warming is a matter of self-interest, so it is not "against human nature" at all.
Once the message (that smoking causes cancer, that fat causes heart disease, that fossil fuels cause dangerous weather and sea level rise) gets through, people do act on it ... not as quickly or sensibly as we might wish, but they act. At the very least, they don't act but don't oppose those who do act.
Especially in third world countries, as puereternus pointed out - global warming is a tough sell to a man slashing and burning in the Amazon to feed his family.

Peasant farmers and slash-and-burn agriculturalists do not contribute much at all, per capita, to global warming. They are not the problem. If anything, we are their problem.
Industrialising countries are a problem, with lots of people aiming for our levels of over-consumption and getting there with very quick-and-dirty technology - like the Industrial Revolution in Europe but with about 200-1000 times the population. They will get over it, round it or through it somehow and end up on the best track they can find.
We in the West, however, are the problem. We are also uniquely placed to be the solution, and the track we are on is the track the Chinese and Indians and the rest have always been aiming for, so solving our own problems goes a long way to solving theirs.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby greentara » Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:51 pm

Wildlife campaigner Bindi Irwin has gotten into a 'biff' with one of the world's most powerful women.

The 14-year-old has stood her ground after an essay she was invited to write for US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's e-journal was drastically edited before it was to be published.

The young conservationist, daughter of the late "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin, was asked to write 800-1000 words on why she had chosen to devote her life's work to wildlife conservation.

The piece was supposed to be published in the December issue titled Go Wild Coming Together for Conservation as part of Secretary Clinton's endangered species initiative.
But after writing exactly 1000 words urging society to address overpopulation, the former first lady's department returned it for final approval with most of it edited out.








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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Sat Jan 26, 2013 10:51 pm

greentara wrote:Wildlife campaigner Bindi Irwin has gotten into a 'biff' with one of the world's most powerful women.

The 14-year-old has stood her ground after an essay she was invited to write for US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's e-journal was drastically edited before it was to be published.

The young conservationist, daughter of the late "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin, was asked to write 800-1000 words on why she had chosen to devote her life's work to wildlife conservation.

The piece was supposed to be published in the December issue titled Go Wild Coming Together for Conservation as part of Secretary Clinton's endangered species initiative.
But after writing exactly 1000 words urging society to address overpopulation, the former first lady's department returned it for final approval with most of it edited out.
.

That's pretty bad! Bindi is right, of course - it's not the only issue we need to address but it's an important one.
I suspect this is another - and rather unusual - case of politicians caving in to the "pro-life" lobby but I'd like to know more. Have you got a source?

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby greentara » Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:45 am

I came across it in The Herald Sun Newspaper online. I'm not that keen on TV Bindi and her pushy mother but in this case there's a real issue being discussed.
Yes it could be the pro life lobby but it could also be the huge corporations not wanting to stem the flow of the enormous pool of cheap labour they have right at their fingertips.
You aso need a huge population as all these untold multitudes are consumers!
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:25 pm

greentara wrote:I came across it in The Herald Sun Newspaper online. I'm not that keen on TV Bindi and her pushy mother but in this case there's a real issue being discussed.
Yes it could be the pro life lobby but it could also be the huge corporations not wanting to stem the flow of the enormous pool of cheap labour they have right at their fingertips.
You aso need a huge population as all these untold multitudes are consumers!

Thanks - found it.
Found the essay, too - full text and edited version. Now everyone can make up their own minds:
http://resources.news.com.au/files/2013/01/24/1226560/780226-bindi-essay.pdf
http://resources.news.com.au/files/2013/01/25/1226562/026170-edited-bindi.pdf
Both pdf's from http://www.news.com.au/world/hillary-clinton-tries-to-silence-brave-bindi/story-fndir2ev-1226560803039. I find myself pleased but a bit surprised that it's a News.com site. I wish I didn't have to be surprised but when News Ltd is mentioned in the context of conservation it is usually because one of its publications is giving far too much credence to a denialist.
One white pebble on News Ltd's heap! :smile:

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Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby GrahamR » Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:52 am

It's the dry season in Thailand and it's pouring down for the third day :(

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:29 pm

GrahamR wrote:It's the dry season in Thailand and it's pouring down for the third day :(

Graham

I'm in the tropical end of Oz and we had 150mm in July (dry season), then a grand total of about 15mm in the next five months.
In the last month, Australia has broken all sorts of records for "hottest ever" and in the last week the NE coast has broken all sorts of records for flood heights.
One bloke on the TV news tonight was saying his area has had six "one in a hundred year" floods in the last ten years. :jawdrop:
Weather is not climate but extreme weather is being turbocharged by global warming. As James Hansen has been saying for a couple of years, the climate dice are loaded ...
Climate Variability and Climate Change: The New Climate Dice
10 November 2011
J. Hansen, M. Sato, R. Ruedy
Abstract. The "climate dice" describing the chance of an unusually warm or cool season, relative to the climatology of 1951-1980, have progressively become more "loaded" during the past 30 years, coincident with increased global warming. The most dramatic and important change of the climate dice is the appearance of a new category of extreme climate outliers. These extremes were practically absent in the period of climatology, covering much less than 1% of Earth's surface. Now summertime extremely hot outliers, more than three standard deviations (σ) warmer than climatology, typically cover about 10% of the land area. Thus there is no need to equivocate about the summer heat waves in Texas in 2011 and Moscow in 2010, which exceeded 3σ – it is nearly certain that they would not have occurred in the absence of global warming. If global warming is not slowed from its current pace, by mid-century 3σ events will be the new norm and 5σ events will be common.
The greatest barrier to public recognition of human-made climate change is the natural variability of climate. How can a person discern long-term climate change, given the notorious variability of local weather and climate from day to day and year to year?
This question assumes great practical importance, because of the need for the public to appreciate the significance of human-made global warming. Actions to stem emissions of the gases that cause global warming, mainly CO2, are unlikely to approach what is needed until the public perceives that human-made climate change is underway and will have disastrous consequences if effective actions are not taken to short-circuit the climate change.

Source: http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2011/20111110_NewClimateDice.pdf
Very scary stuff!
The silver lining is that, with any luck, each extreme event puts global warming much higher on the agenda of each person affected.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby greentara » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:22 am

HEAT rising from cities such as New York, Paris and Tokyo might be remotely warming up winters far away in some rural parts of Alaska, Canada, and Siberia, a surprising study theorises.

In an unusual twist, that same urban heat from buildings and cars may be slightly cooling the autumns in much of the western US, eastern Europe and the Mediterranean, according to the study published yesterday in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change.

Meteorologists have long known that cities are warmer than rural areas, with the heat of buildings and cars, along with asphalt and roofs that absorb heat.

It's called the urban heat island effect and it has long been thought that the heat stayed close to the cities.

But the study, based on a computer model and the Northern Hemisphere, now suggests the heat does something else, albeit indirectly. It travels about 800m into the air and then its energy changes the high-altitude currents in the atmosphere that dictate prevailing weather.
Some relatives came back from a visit to China recently and came across three towns very close to one another, with a combined population of 60 million in that one small area. Now what does that do to heat radiating to far flung lands?








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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Mon Feb 04, 2013 5:01 am

Groundhog Day part 2:
Somewhere on a Hollywood movie set for Groundhog Day, Part 2: Bill Murray wakes up to find he’s just lived through the hottest decade on record, just as he did in the 1990s, just as he did in the 1980s. And he keeps waking up in the hottest decade on record, until he gains the kind of maturity and wisdom that can only come from doing the same damn thing over and over and over again with no change in the result. Ah, if only life were like a movie.

More: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/02/02/1532351/groundhog-decade-were-stuck-in-a-movie-where-its-always-the-hottest-decade-on-record/

Scary stuff. We gotta do something about it.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:37 pm

(1) The Guardian recently reported that:
“Carbon dioxide emissions [in the U.S.] fell by 13% in the past five years, because of new energy-saving technologies and a doubling in the take-up of renewable energy”.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/feb/01/us-carbon-emissions-lowest-levels


(2) The lower US emissions of CO2 is not really due to luck.
A) Fracking and EPA regulations make coal more expensive than natural gas.
B) Higher gasoline prices lead to reduced gasoline usage and higher average MPG.

On the other hand..
Re: A, More natural gas means less CO2 emissions, but not necessarily less GHG emissions. There’s debate over how much methane is leaking out during fracking or natgas transport, and methane is a much stronger GHG than CO2.
Re: B, The higher gas prices are largely a result of recent industrialization in Brazil, India, and China. That industrialization comes with higher coal and gasoline use in those countries.

As a sidenote, fuel efficiency mandates are generally a pretty bad way of reducing gasoline use. Much better is higher gas prices, for reasons explained here: http://offsettingbehaviour.blogspot.com/2013/02/dont-start-by-assuming-stupidity.html

Both these items from RealClimate discussion at http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2013/02/unforced-variations-feb-2013/

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Wed Feb 06, 2013 5:35 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:(1) The Guardian recently reported that:
“Carbon dioxide emissions [in the U.S.] fell by 13% in the past five years, because of new energy-saving technologies and a doubling in the take-up of renewable energy”.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/feb/01/us-carbon-emissions-lowest-levels


There has also been a severe recession in the USA meaning decreased consumption of goods and services. If you're poorer and/or unemployed, you might not be taking Sunday drives or producing as much carbon as before.

In the coming decades as a lot more people suffer poverty and subsequently produce less pollution the media will praise this as people adopting energy-saving sustainable lifestyles whereas in reality they're just poor and can't afford to drive or guzzle electricity like they once did.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:17 am

Huseng wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote:(1) The Guardian recently reported that:
“Carbon dioxide emissions [in the U.S.] fell by 13% in the past five years, because of new energy-saving technologies and a doubling in the take-up of renewable energy”.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/feb/01/us-carbon-emissions-lowest-levels

There has also been a severe recession in the USA meaning decreased consumption of goods and services. If you're poorer and/or unemployed, you might not be taking Sunday drives or producing as much carbon as before.

Huseng,
This response goes beyond simple miserablism, definitely as far as being deliberately misleading (if you read the linked article) and almost to outright disinformation.
What you say is true but the Guardian article clearly says, "Carbon dioxide emissions fell by 13% in the past five years, because of new energy-saving technologies and a doubling in the take-up of renewable energy," (my emphasis), and the report it's based on - http://www.bcse.org/sustainableenergyfactbook.html - says just as clearly that,
• Renewable energy installations hit an all-time record with at least 17 GW of new nameplate capacity added in 2012..
• In April 2012, electricity generation from natural gas equaled that from coal for the first time in US history.
• Policies and approaches for financing energy efficiency continued to make market headway; energy intensity for US commercial buildings has now dropped by more than 40% since 1980 and investments in smart grid topped $4 billion.
• Carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions from the energy sector were on pace to sink to their lowest level since 1994.

Sure, there was a recession, but that is not the primary reason for the drop in emissions.

Huseng wrote:In the coming decades as a lot more people suffer poverty and subsequently produce less pollution the media will praise this [I have asked you before about your siddhis but you keep on not answering :thinking: ] as people adopting energy-saving sustainable lifestyles whereas in reality they're just poor and can't afford to drive or guzzle electricity like they once did.

Again, this bit of hypothetical nonsense is simply misdirection designed to draw attention away from the very real good news.
Why do you do it?
(And that is not a rhetorical question. I am really puzzled about why anyone should not only be more miserable than they have to be but try to make everyone else more miserable as well.)
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:15 am

A great blog post on Germany's outstandingly successful renewable energy programme: http://cleantechnica.com/2013/02/09/germany-solar-power-lessons/ The US, it says, has a lot of catching up to do but there is no reason it can't do it.
The blog is new to me but every link I clicked on took me to another strong, well-documented article - :twothumbsup:

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby justsit » Thu Feb 14, 2013 4:35 pm

A totally non-scientific poll from my local newspaper website:


Are you making daily decisions based on climate change? [Give It To Me Local]

No. I don't believe the climate is changing.
36%
No. If it happens, it happens. It won't be in my lifetime.
30%
Yes. I try to drive less and produce less waste.
22%
Yes. I am trying to build a life that will be less affected by changes.
9%

:toilet:
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Fri Feb 15, 2013 5:22 am

justsit wrote:A totally non-scientific poll from my local newspaper website:

Are you making daily decisions based on climate change? [Give It To Me Local]

No. I don't believe the climate is changing.
36%
No. If it happens, it happens. It won't be in my lifetime.
30%
Yes. I try to drive less and produce less waste.
22%
Yes. I am trying to build a life that will be less affected by changes.
9%

:toilet:

Yeah - my local newspaper would probably publish a set of results rather like those. :toilet:
But they are not just non-scientific, they are anti-scientific in that they are biased by the self-selection of the respondents, largely people who don't want to know about the problem and feel they haven't had a chance to display their opposition to the necessary solutions.
Besides, my local paper publishes Andrew Bolt, Australia's most toxic equivalent to the US's Limbaugh and co. If you want to know more about him, here's one of his latest columns on climate change [Warning: before clicking on link, place clothes-peg firmly on nose and ensure a barf-bag is within reach.] http://www.heraldsun.com.au/opinion/climate-of-dissent-being-punished/story-e6frfifx-1226500249819
And it's a Murdoch press paper (or had you guessed already?).
In short, anyone who willingly reads a newspaper like that and is keen to engage further with it is, in my (totally unbiased, of course) opinion, :crazy: and/or :alien:

I've been wanting to say something like that for a while, Justsit.* Thanks for giving me an excuse. :smile:

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* Edit: but it shouldn't blind us to the fact that even that very unscientific and probably biased survey shows roughly equal numbers doing something positive, rejecting action and sitting on the sidelines. Splitting the middle group proportionally gives us at least a very solid minority willing to do something positive.
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