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Monday, April 14, 2014

No More Lost Decades on Climate Change?

Posted by on Mon, Apr 14, 2014 at 6:00 AM

There's some hope amid the latest grim report:

Delivering the latest stark news about climate change on Sunday, a United Nations panel warned that governments are not doing enough to avert profound risks in coming decades. But the experts found a silver lining: Not only is there still time to head off the worst, but the political will to do so seems to be rising around the world.

In a report unveiled here, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that decades of foot-dragging by political leaders had propelled humanity into a critical situation, with greenhouse emissions rising faster than ever. Though it remains technically possible to keep planetary warming to a tolerable level, only an intensive push over the next 15 years to bring those emissions under control can achieve the goal, the committee found.

We cannot afford to lose another decade,” said Ottmar Edenhofer, a German economist and co-chairman of the committee that wrote the report.

We could not afford to lose the last decade, either. Or the one before that. Americans, on the whole, have been unconcerned about climate change since at least 1989, and show no real signs of getting more concerned. But, if political will is indeed "rising around the world," that is good.

 

Comments (17) RSS

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yelahneb 1
Maybe a bacterium that when introduced to petroleum, renders it unusable, paired with some sort of coal-eating virus? That might make us stop.
Posted by yelahneb http://www.strangebutharmless.com on April 14, 2014 at 6:22 AM · Report this
bitchslap 2
I wouldn't rate climate change in my top 5 list of political concerns.
Posted by bitchslap on April 14, 2014 at 7:33 AM · Report this
3
The resource extraction industries are partners of the national security state. Significant change will be difficult to achieve as long as everyone's words, movements, and associations are recorded by our governments. The greater someone's potential to effect change, the harder our spy agencies will work to neutralize that person's voice.
Posted by Phil M http://https://twitter.com/pmocek on April 14, 2014 at 8:00 AM · Report this
4
Earth warms. Earth cools. Life goes on.
Posted by Adapt on April 14, 2014 at 8:02 AM · Report this
passionate_jus 5
@4 True. But maybe not human life.
Posted by passionate_jus on April 14, 2014 at 8:16 AM · Report this
6
Meanwhile, the glaciers melt at a rate not anticipated, and various nations are slavering over the idea that actual earth will appear in the Artic and Antartica, meaning they can drill for oil.
Posted by sarah70 on April 14, 2014 at 8:22 AM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 7

FuelCell CEO Expects First Big Sale in Europe This Year

FuelCell built a 250-kilowatt plant in central London to showcase the technology and will complete another one of comparable size within a few months, said Chief Executive Officer Chip Bottone. The company is talking to potential customers there and in Germany and Italy.


http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-11…
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://www.you-read-it-here-first.com on April 14, 2014 at 8:48 AM · Report this
8
As I did my taxes over the weekend, I noticed line 35 on form 1040, "Domestic Production Activities Deduction."

Wut.

Yes, gas and oil production, as if it weren't remunerative enough and didn't lay enough waste to the earth and environment, it's entitled to an extra tax deduction!

(To be fair, line 35 covers a bunch of other stuff, too, but the idea of fossil fuel extraction being included in "production" just rankles. It's not like anyone is making any new fuels, just stealing the old stuff out of the ground, after all the trouble Mother Nature took to take it out of Earth's earlier atmosphere and put it there so we could have today's supportive biosphere.)
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on April 14, 2014 at 8:49 AM · Report this
9
Interestingly enough, the IPCC notes that nuclear power is a great alternative to coal/natural gas and other carbon intensive fossil fuels. It's about time we shut down Centralia Power Plant and bring back projects like Satsop.

Build your wind and solar while you're at it, but folks need to stop ignoring modern nuclear designs.
Posted by Solk512 on April 14, 2014 at 10:01 AM · Report this
venomlash 10
@4: One, the rate at which the Earth's climates are changing is unprecedented. Such rapid changes in temperature and air/water circulation have previously only been seen as the result of catastrophes such as major meteoroid impacts and extreme volcanic activity. The fact that we're now seeing these effects without any apparent cause OTHER than human activity...well, Occam's Razor is the tool of choice here.
Two, extreme changes in climate have historically been associated with mass extinctions and quite often severe losses in overall primary production.
Three, those educated on the issues, whose professions it is to study these effects, agree OVERWHELMINGLY that we are causing changes to the Earth's climates that will be very bad for us and for macroorganisms in general. Do you understand how hard it is to get scientists to agree on anything? The evidence is CRYSTAL CLEAR, and all the empty platitudes and ostrich-like head-hiding in the world won't change the fact that you are dead wrong.
Posted by venomlash on April 14, 2014 at 10:39 AM · Report this
11
I worry will make very little progress.

For one reason... literally EVERYBODY want's to externalize cost and responsibility for the damage technological activities do to somebody else. Everybody want's somebody else to pay the price.

Example: Everybody posting here right now is using technology that contributes excessively to global warming. So called solar or wind energy server farms really don't abate that total contribution sufficiently yet. Not when you factor in the exponential growth of all the systems and sub-systems that keep the internet and computer/mobile. manufacturing humming. Internet usage will have to become way more expensive to pay for cleaner systems. Way more.

You think the shut-ins of slog would stand for that? I doubt it.

Multiply that selfish reflex across every sector of society.
Posted by tkc on April 14, 2014 at 10:57 AM · Report this
12
@10 is spot on and absolutely correct.

One of the most maddening things to get lay people to understand is how culturally argumentative and challenge-prone scientists are - after all, it's baked right into the scientific method. If you have all of them agree, that means, to the best of our knowledge, the thing they agree with is reality.

It makes arguing with climate change deniers, anti-vaxers and so on incredibly frustrating. What the conspiracy-mongers never understand is that scientists have huge, huge incentives to discover evidence overturning previous work. Those are the papers that get published, that's the work that receives grants and prizes and tenured research positions.

So researchers in a particular field (no fair asking engineers about evolution for instance!) agree on something despite those incentives, it should be taken very, very seriously.
Posted by Solk512 on April 14, 2014 at 12:14 PM · Report this
13
@11 I think the biggest problem here is that folks like the people you're complaining about just don't understand the scale of the problem, and folks like you are complaining about shit like the Internet, while ignoring things like, I dunno, coal power plants.

Your complaints in particular are confusing - the main focus in computers over the past several years hasn't been raw speed but rather power efficiency. You see laptops that run longer on their batteries, chips that turn down their power dynamically to save energy.

Not to mention the use of computers to do dynamic load balancing and scheduling - technology that is incredibly important if we're to make the best of current power generation, and make non-baseload power like wind and solar work at all.

How can you seriously complain about the internet when there are still coal power plants here in Washington State?
Posted by Solk512 on April 14, 2014 at 12:20 PM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 14
@5 Some human life will probably go on for quite a while. We're adaptable and clever little scamps.

Whether anything like our current society will go on for more than another century is the very uncertain bit. There's a huge range of possible outcomes between a perfectly managed soft landing and total extinction, and you can imagine that many of them are not very happy scenarios, by our current standards.
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on April 14, 2014 at 12:42 PM · Report this
venomlash 15
@12: Exactly. Normal skepticism aside, not many scientists can resist the glorious scoop of stabbing someone in the back and revealing that they faked their data.
Posted by venomlash on April 14, 2014 at 4:02 PM · Report this
16
@13 Server farms are as powered by coal plants as everything else. So I'm certainly not advocating ignoring the burning of fossil fuels.

Computers/internet technological growth was an example merely to illustrate a point about individual selfish perspective.

And you have served to illustrate that perfectly.

Posted by tkc on April 14, 2014 at 5:24 PM · Report this
17
@16 I love responses like yours, because you just make a declarative statement without even bothering to explain why. You call me selfish for some reason, and then you imply I support the use of coal plants after I've clearly stated support for nuclear and renewables.

Oh, and by renewables, I mean serious shit like molten salt solar collectors in Eastern Washington, not a handful of solar panels in Seattle. That shit is simply wasteful.
Posted by Solk512 on April 15, 2014 at 5:57 AM · Report this

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