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[Climate Change] : Paris Agreement Signed

The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
edited April 2016 in Debate and/or Discourse
GlobalWarm.png


So, as of last year, the mean concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere was about 389-390 PPM (parts per million), which - for those spread sheeting at home - is actually a slightly higher concentration than the IPCC's A1B model was expecting we'd reach by now.


The what model?

The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) - the body of scientists that are, in essence, working in a Manhatten Project-esque routine, albeit with significantly less risk of criticality incidents, to understand human impact on the climate - computed 6 different models for the future of Earth's atmosphere & temperature, based on a variety of factors: The A1B, A1Fl, A1T, A2, B1 and B2 models.

The models are visualized in these graphs:

figure-10-26-l.png

And the IPCC itself, of course, has a very readable (in my opinion, anyway) breakdown of their modelling procedures & analysis right here.


I can't read all of that right now! I'm on my lunch break!

Well, the A1B model is, in essence, the 'benchmark' model. It assumes that the current output of CO2 emissions will remain steady, and methane release as a result of thawing marshland in the northern latitudes will not steadily track upward with a rise in temperature (it assumes a peak point for methane concentration at about 2,500 parts per billion around 2050, with a drop-off thereafter). It's the 'we do nothing, but nothing else goes wrong either' model, and results in what's colloquially known as a '4 degrees Celsius world' by the end of the century (a world where the mean global temperature is 4 degrees greater than it was in the 1900s, before heavy industrialization).

The model the global community should be most interested in aiming for is the IPCC's B1 model (or better), which means we need to aim to have a [i[peak[/i] CO2 concentration of about 450-475 parts per million by the year 2050, and have that figure either hold steady or (preferably) decline going forward, in which case we'll 'only' be faced with what's colloquially known as a '2 degrees Celsius world' by the end of the century (a world where the mean global temperature is 2 degrees greater than it was in the 1900s).

We need to significantly reduce our emissions - and, to be honest, probably employ some sort of artificial mitigation technologies - in order to hit that target. Right now, we're shooting for about 550-600 parts per million by 2050.


4 degrees? 2 degrees? Those numbers are small. I am not concerned.

Global_Warming_Predictions_Map.jpg

This is what a 4 degrees C Earth is projected to look like.

The exact range of extinctions is hard to predict, but 40% of known species is on the low end of the models, 70% on the high end. Most significant extinctions would be of marine life, with much of the ocean becoming, effectively, a liquid desert thanks to coral bleaching & plankton extermination. Depending on the extent of plankton death & the frequency of forest fires (which are expected to dramatically spike, partly due to temperature changes & rainfall pattern alterations, partly due to pest surges as insect predators are depopulated), the Earth's atmosphere might very plausibly become so oxygen depleted that large mammals - like homo sapiens, for example - cannot tolerate the conditions.

Of course, that's a worst-case scenario; it might 'only' be that Earth becomes a scorching Hell-hole with extremely limited water sources that every state tears itself apart trying to seize control of, as rainfall patterns have changed, established aquifers have begun to dry-up and new aquifers have yet to be created.


If a 4 degrees C world represents the outer margins of what conditions humans may be able to survive, a 2 degrees C world is 'merely' horrific. About 20-40% known species extinction (again, mostly marine life). Water sources would be substantially stressed, especially in the developing world, and the western world could expect an unprecedented immigration crisis. At the end of the day, though, we would very likely pull through it.


Wait, what!? People have been saying this is no big deal! I have been buying green products! I'm carbon neutral! Al Gore played that upbeat song at the end of Inconvenient Truth and said it was all happiness and ponies and lime Jello ahead!

Unfortunately, we haven't been hitting our emissions targets. In fact, we're not even on track to trend with the A1B model (the really bad model - though, certainly not the worst of the models. Some of them predict that if we do not curb our emissions by 2050, we'll set-off a positive feedback reaction involving methane and, eventually, water vapour that will turn the whole planet into a desert).

What we started doing back in the 70s through to the early 90s was too slow, and on much too small a scale. And it continues to be, to this day. We're going to need to make some very tough choices about energy industries that currently keep the food on the tables of a lot of blue collar, low-income people in the west; oil & gas companies and coal companies will boast about how they have become necessary parasites that keep whole communities solvent, and they're fundamentally correct in most cases.


Well we sure can't just pull the plug on coal or oil & gas, that's crazy! My whole extended family works for Halliburton!

As a consequence of not making much smaller & less traumatic adjustments in the past, we're now faced with grisly choices. Pretty soon (well, 'pretty soon' on a geological timescale; from our perspective, it might seem like there is a lot of time still. As they say, though, years wheel by) we'll be unable to make any meaningful choices (or rather, stuck with the 'choice' of inaction). We can sacrifice now (or, to put it in a less sugar-coated way, force other people to make sacrifices now), or we can shove the burden back a few more decades and force the grandchildren of the current generation to bear witness to the whole human enterprise unravelling around them (you might even have to watch it yourself, as a far less able-bodied senior citizen. 90 years is within a human lifespan, these days).

We have to start taking very clear and very strong stances on how much CO2 can be put into the atmosphere, if we'd like to think of ourselves as moral or forward-thinking in any interesting way, even if that means a lot of people lose their jobs and a few companies can't operate above the red ink.


I will not / cannot lobby for people losing their jobs even if that means the Earth will be atomized next Thursday. Isn't there anything else I can do?

If you're already carbon neutral, probably not.

If you're not already carbon neutral:

- Replace your home's lightbulbs with florescent bulbs or, better yet, LED bulbs. Yes, they are expensive (mostly because standard bulb are just a glass dome over a piece of tungsten wire. Not much to it); they'll also last longer and cost less to operate. Just buy the fucking things.

- Look into solar panel installation. It's out of most people's price range, but you might be surprised at what local manufacturers can do for you deal-wise.

- Try to be more vigilant about recycling & waste reduction. I was personally surprised at how easy it became once I got into a routine of not just stuffing every single thing into a garbage when I was done with it.

- Use public transit if it's available. Look into either buying an electric car when you need to replace your current automobile, or converting your current vehicle into an electric one. If none of that is remotely possible, make sure you maximize your vehicle trips; car-pool, don't take the vehicle out on errands every single day, etc.

- Do not waste your money on 'organic food'. Most of the time it isn't locally grown anyway, and it does not in reality actually reduce emissions. Farmers are still going to sew & harvest their crops to sell, even if demand did decline (which it won't anyway).

- In general, just try to be conscious about how much energy you spend, where the energy is coming from & whether or not there's a way to accomplish what you're doing by using less energy and / or taking the energy from a source that will not directly generate CO2.


Hey now, I just heard my local TV weatherman say that this whole thing is a hoax! You just want me to buy green products that you're invested in, and then you're going to create a Marxist dystopia with windmills and bio-fuel Esso stations where the only thing to eat is hemp-flavored ice cream!

First, I don't give a shit if you never buy a single 'green' product in your life (...well, except for fluorescent or LED bulbs. It's the Goddamn 21st century. Buy Goddamn 21st century lighting technology, you fucking Luddite). The average population in the west being carbon neutral is not nearly enough (but it does show that you're at least willing to lead by example).

Second, all of the world's major science bodies agree that climate change is real, agree that we are causing it, and agree that negative consequences are on the horizon. The only people who think climate change as a whole is a hoax are hopelessly ignorant ideologues, and most people who claim it's a hoax are fraudsters. Only a fringe handful of academics still clings to the belief that global warming isn't being caused by human activity (Richard Lindzen is the most well known; his papers detailing his 'Infrared Iris' hypothesis are, in my opinion, pseudo-scientific junk, and it's a pity that the academic community has been so polite about the issue. Gee whiz, awfully convenient that the very flagrantly flawed data collecting method employed by Lidzen who's results then couldn't be replicated by anyone turned-out out to be a 'mistake' that happened to coincide with his political ideology. He really should've been hung out to dry on that matter, and I don't care what Harvard's faculty thinks of him or how many previous papers he's written).

At this point, given all of the information we've collected, the appropriate reaction to anyone claiming that global warming 'isn't real' is to regard them as you would a Young Earth Creationist.



So, there you go. Global Warming.

With Love and Courage
The Ender on
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Posts

  • seabassseabass Doctor MassachusettsRegistered User regular
    I'm doing my part by not having children, among other obvious things like recycling, having those fancy power strips that actually let you avoid the passive draw from your electronics, and replacing my light bulbs.

    Run you pigeons, it's Robert Frost!
  • JebusUDJebusUD Adventure! Caaba Beankomy XobthroRegistered User regular
    edited November 2011
    So... do you have some kind of evidence for the claim that 70% of species will go extinct?

    I also wonder in what way insect predator depopulation is related to forest fires?

    JebusUD on
    And I won, so you lose,
    Guess it always comes down to.
  • JebusUDJebusUD Adventure! Caaba Beankomy XobthroRegistered User regular
    seabass wrote:
    I'm doing my part by not having children, among other obvious things like recycling, having those fancy power strips that actually let you avoid the passive draw from your electronics, and replacing my light bulbs.
    Where does one find those strips?

    And I won, so you lose,
    Guess it always comes down to.
  • Linespider5Linespider5 ALL HAIL KING KILLMONGER Registered User regular
    Honestly? I'm concerned I'll be, like, 65 when the shit comes down, and spend the rest of my life only watching it get worse without getting to see it get better.

  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2011/11/17/un_secretary_general_moonpie_demands_100b_to_combat_the_global_warming_hoax

    "America now knows that this whole global warming thing is a manufactured left-wing hoax"

    Rush Limbaugh has 20 million listeners. His opinion carries weight even if it's the worst opinion ever.

  • herojoeherojoe IndianapolisRegistered User regular
    I'm optimistic that in the future everything will be solar or wind powered and we'll have figured out how to use trash for fuel or something.

    steam_sig-400.png
  • Captain CarrotCaptain Carrot Alexandria, VARegistered User regular
    The opinion of a blowhard catering to fools carries no weight with me, nor with reality. The atmosphere does not care what Rush Limbaugh says.

  • Caveman PawsCaveman Paws Registered User regular
    I'm not surprised that people don't want to believe in this stuff since it is scary x 1000.

    Sadly I doubt anything will change until the riots and mass beheadings of political leaders, and then it will be too late.

    So depressed I need to go to work now via my car. :(

  • Linespider5Linespider5 ALL HAIL KING KILLMONGER Registered User regular
    herojoe wrote:
    I'm optimistic that in the future everything will be solar or wind powered and we'll have figured out how to use trash for fuel or something.

    Wind Power scares me a little. In particular, stuff like this:

    http://www.wind-watch.org/documents/barotrauma-is-a-significant-cause-of-bat-fatalities-at-wind-turbines/

    Which is not the greatest.

  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    Meh, we'll likely fix it through geo-engineering. I'm not too concerned, but really we will have to do it. There is nothing the United States can do as a monolithic organization or a set of individual mandates that will fix the problem, for every step we take China undoes it. So because we do not have enough power to stop or divert greenhouse gasses, we simply have to fix the damage caused by them.

  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    seabass wrote:
    I'm doing my part by not having children, among other obvious things like recycling, having those fancy power strips that actually let you avoid the passive draw from your electronics, and replacing my light bulbs.

    I have lots of children and then use them to power my giant hamster wheels.

    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
  • KelzorKelzor Registered User regular
    So I hate to be the punching bag of any thread, but as someone not yet sold on global warming what exactly separates this scare from the now known to be false panics like global cooling of the 1970s and the other global warming scare before that?
    The data seems to be extrapolated to form a doomsday scenario but what we've seen so far seems to be well within the lines of the normal temperature fluctuations of the earth.
    I guess I just don't really understand why this global temperature change is the one we really need to worry about.

  • redxredx I(x)=2(x)+1 whole numbersRegistered User regular
    Global warming has been a thing for something like a decade, and from what I've seen there isn't any indication that humans are going to change their behavior such that significant climate change is going to be avoided. We are going to pump ever last bit of Oil, Natural Gas and Coal out of the ground and into the atmosphere. We are spending a lot of resources on trying to prevent what is more or less inevitable. America isn't going to fetter it's economy, and neither is India, China or the developing world. It's just not going to happen, and any steps we do take really just aren't going to be enough. The environment and climate as we know it is totally fucked.

    I really just don't have any faith in the idea that humans are going to change how they use resources until it is too late. If we know what the effects of climate change are going to be, than we can spend our time and energy figuring out how to adapt to what is going to happen. Billions of people are going to die from famine, drought and flooding. Another global war would not surprise me, because first world nations are going to be forced into a strategy that amounts to 'fuck you buddy, I got mine.' and most of the people in the world are going to have a problem with watching everyone they know die slowly and the land their ancestors have lived on for thousands of years be destroyed.

    But I think it's going to happen. I don't think we can change the course we are on. I think the best we are going to be able to do is ensure the continuity of as much science and culture as possible.

    I don't know. I ended up driving though Utah, and the Salt Lake region this summer. Like nothing else in my life it drove home the point that climates change. That eventually and that is is going to happen to the one we live in as well. We can either put out energy into a halfhearted attempt to prevent what is, in my horrifyingly fatalistic view, inevitable, or we can try to make sure humanity survives.

    This machine kills threads.
  • PhillisherePhillishere Registered User regular
    edited November 2011
    Kelzor wrote:
    So I hate to be the punching bag of any thread, but as someone not yet sold on global warming what exactly separates this scare from the now known to be false panics like global cooling of the 1970s and the other global warming scare before that?
    The data seems to be extrapolated to form a doomsday scenario but what we've seen so far seems to be well within the lines of the normal temperature fluctuations of the earth.
    I guess I just don't really understand why this global temperature change is the one we really need to worry about.

    Here's the difference I see.

    All those other media frenzies were over fringe theorists in their fields. They were never the prevailing consensus, and the vast majority of people who actually studied this stuff were always aware they were bullshit or, at least, overly alarmist. At their very core, the majority of them represented wildly successful public relations campaigns for mass market pop science books - perfect talk show and weekly news magazine cover fodder.

    Global warming is accepted by everyone who studies a vast variety of independent research pursuits. Its effects are noted, backed up by data and conforming to existing models. Independent research from universities, corporations, and national research foundations across the world are not just taking this seriously as a theoretical construct, they are also having to account for it daily in their mathematical models.

    That's the difference.

    Phillishere on
  • SanderJKSanderJK Crocodylus Pontifex Sinterklasicus Madrid, 3000 ADRegistered User regular
    edited November 2011
    Global Cooling never was the consensus. The fact that you think it was means you are listening to people who are acting in bad faith in this discussion, because the Global Cooling Myth doesn't hold up to any amount of scrutiny. It just didn't happen apart from a few media source looking for sensationalism.

    For a detailed analysis, see this: RealClimate's six year old analysis on it.

    SanderJK on
    Steam: SanderJK Origin: SanderJK
  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    edited November 2011
    Geoengineering, if people won't change, let's end round them and fix shit ourselves. And I think that is what we are doing. Really the thing is that a single large corporation could drop the earths temp by a couple of degrees without any consensus vote or problem, they could just do it, or a rich person, small nation. Any group that gets a bee in their bonnet over global warming could simply put their money where there mouth is and fix it. And honestly I think that is what we are doing. There are some groups on this, so I'll let them do their thing.

    zepherin on
  • KelzorKelzor Registered User regular
    So I'll just shut up about global cooling now, thanks for the comparisons and the link.

  • PhillisherePhillishere Registered User regular
    zepherin wrote:
    Geoengineering, if people won't change, let's end round them and fix shit ourselves. And I think that is what we are doing. Really the thing is that a single large corporation could drop the earths temp by a couple of degrees without any consensus vote or problem, they could just do it, or a rich person, small nation. Any group that gets a bee in their bonnet over global warming could simply put their money where there mouth is and fix it. And honestly I think that is what we are doing. There are some groups on this, so I'll let them do their thing.

    Point me to active geoengineering projects that have real potential to work, but also have the possibility to be realistically scaled up to the levels needed to be more than 1 percent of the world's energy needs in at least a decade. That's what's going to be needed for the type of research, training and infrastructure building that will be needed to turn into an actual global-scale power source for humanity in 50 years time.

    Shit don't just happen because it's a great idea. There are a lot of good ideas out there, but it takes serious time and resources to develop them past just being ideas. And that needs to be happening on a large scale right now for it to have the kind of effect needed to just make the problem go away before it gets nasty.

  • BSoBBSoB Registered User regular
    Kelzor wrote:
    So I hate to be the punching bag of any thread, but as someone not yet sold on global warming what exactly separates this scare from the now known to be false panics like global cooling of the 1970s and the other global warming scare before that?
    The data seems to be extrapolated to form a doomsday scenario but what we've seen so far seems to be well within the lines of the normal temperature fluctuations of the earth.
    I guess I just don't really understand why this global temperature change is the one we really need to worry about.

    All theories are independent of each other and need to be evaluated upon their own merits. "someone was wrong before" is not a argument against this theory being wrong now.

    Climate change has a few big things going against it, reasons why people just aren't listening.

    1. Al Gore.
    He flies around on a private jet and buys carbon credits from himself. His movie has enough inaccuracies that a judge in England ruled that it can only be shown in schools with a set of guidance notes, so the teacher can point out which "facts" were under dispute even among the most staunch climate change activists. This is the guy who got the Nobel Peace prize. It can be hard for people to separate the peace prize from the scientific portion of the Nobel committee. It basically looks like the entire scientific community endorsed the hypocritical actions and inaccurate fear mongering he was party to.

    2. The 90's. In the 90's we were constantly bombarded by warnings about impending environmental doom. The ozone layer, running out of oxygen due to massive deforestation, etc. In the public's mind these were all solved fairly easily/went away without them actually having to do anything. "oh the stores stopped selling the brand of hairspray? i'll buy this one! i'm an environmentalist!"

    People distrust the scientific community and expect an easy answer. That's the hill that has to be climbed.


  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    People distrust the scientific community on climate issues.

    And they do so because there's large political and moneyed interests making damn sure they do for their own benefit.

  • PhillisherePhillishere Registered User regular
    BSoB wrote:
    2. The 90's. In the 90's we were constantly bombarded by warnings about impending environmental doom. The ozone layer, running out of oxygen due to massive deforestation, etc. In the public's mind these were all solved fairly easily/went away without them actually having to do anything. "oh the stores stopped selling the brand of hairspray? i'll buy this one! i'm an environmentalist!"

    People distrust the scientific community and expect an easy answer. That's the hill that has to be climbed.

    We won on the ozone layer! CFCs were largely banned in the First World years ago. They've been banned in the Third World as of this year. The levels in the atmosphere are going down.

    If anything, the ozone layer efforts are a symbol that we can divert disaster if we pull together and make the effort.

  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    edited November 2011
    Let's all watch the movie Soylent Green together. In that movie, all trees and vegetation in urban areas died off due to the Greenhouse effect, the weather was 110 degrees at night, etc.

    emnmnme on
  • PhillisherePhillishere Registered User regular
    edited November 2011
    I'm gloomy enough to think Peak Oil might save us. And by save us, I mean devastate manufacturing and commerce, choke the needed fertilizer supply that feeds us and lead to a decline to an 1890s level of technology and lifestyle, at least if the world stops going crazy from all the trauma of declining back to an 1890s population.

    Phillishere on
  • redxredx I(x)=2(x)+1 whole numbersRegistered User regular
    Yeah, but there are still hajillions of barrels of oil in Canada, 100 years worth of natural gas in the US, and we don't really seem to be getting anywhere near running out of Coal.

    It's harder to get at than the fossil fuels in the middle east, but we aren't really anywhere near running out. We just have to chop the tops off mountains, shatter bedrock and create massive amounts of waste to get at it.

    This machine kills threads.
  • Anon the FelonAnon the Felon In bat country.Registered User regular
    edited November 2011
    redx wrote:
    Yeah, but there are still hajillions of barrels of oil in Canada, 100 years worth of natural gas in the US, and we don't really seem to be getting anywhere near running out of Coal.

    It's harder to get at than the fossil fuels in the middle east, but we aren't really anywhere near running out. We just have to chop the tops off mountains, shatter bedrock and create massive amounts of waste to get at it.

    I really hope you aren't referring to the oil sands when speaking of Canada. Since, while they are in technical terms a source of fuel, the technology to gather and refine the fuel is not quite there yet. It exists but is cost prohibitive and not very "clean". In order to gather the oil sands we're looking at 30 years of focused R&D in order to get the costs down to where it's rational. I believe it's also very harmful the environment to harvest it, but I could be remembering wrong on that point.

    As far as more traditional sources of fossil fuel in Canada, there is some, but it's in a pretty nasty environment and pretty hard to get at anyway. You're right though, it's there, it's just kind of a "last hope" thing. Peak Oil is more based on the easy to get to sources running dry. Then we're talking about half a hajillion dollars to get a hajillion barrels instead of ten bucks (hyperbole for the point of impressing the point).

    Really though, in my opinion one of the quickest way to start resolving this issue is to start really talking about getting over the NIMBA bullshit and really embrace nuclear power. It's clean as hell these days, it's highly efficient, and reduces this whole global warming thing by orders of magnitude (if we use it en mass, as well as other issues). I say ignore Canadian oil (especially the sands, since that's just huge waste and shouldn't even be talked about), and start building reactors across the world.

    Edit: Sorry to talk about energy so much, but I really feel that the energy crisis is very closely tied to the climate crisis. If we can get over our own ignorant and dated beliefs, one will solve the other.

    Anon the Felon on
  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    Point me to active geoengineering projects that have real potential to work, but also have the possibility to be realistically scaled up to the levels needed to be more than 1 percent of the world's energy needs in at least a decade. That's what's going to be needed for the type of research, training and infrastructure building that will be needed to turn into an actual global-scale power source for humanity in 50 years time.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cool_roof Reduces temps and results in cost savings, and is being scaled up and implemented, but it's not enough.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bio-energy_with_carbon_capture_and_storage Good but still not enough.

    I suppose then you can add reflective material to stuff, make more clouds or bomb China, but even if the US went carbon neutral, we would have the same problem, but it would develop slower, so since it is inevitable that greenhouse gases will continue to be pushed into the atmosphere, the precautionary principle would say that doing nothing is the worst option and so geoengineering is better than doing nothing.

  • Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    redx wrote:
    Yeah, but there are still hajillions of barrels of oil in Canada, 100 years worth of natural gas in the US, and we don't really seem to be getting anywhere near running out of Coal.

    It's harder to get at than the fossil fuels in the middle east, but we aren't really anywhere near running out. We just have to chop the tops off mountains, shatter bedrock and create massive amounts of waste to get at it.

    I really hope you aren't referring to the oil sands when speaking of Canada. Since, while they are in technical terms a source of fuel, the technology to gather and refine the fuel is not quite there yet. It exists but is cost prohibitive and not very "clean". In order to gather the oil sands we're looking at 30 years of focused R&D in order to get the costs down to where it's rational. I believe it's also very harmful the environment to harvest it, but I could be remembering wrong on that point.

    Um... according to wikipedia, you're wrong.
    The Alberta oil sands have been in commercial production since the original Great Canadian Oil Sands (now Suncor) mine began operation in 1967. A second mine, operated by the Syncrude consortium, began operation in 1978 and is the biggest mine of any type in the world. The third mine in the Athabasca Oil Sands, the Albian Sands consortium of Shell Canada, Chevron Corporation, and Western Oil Sands Inc. [purchased by Marathon Oil Corporation in 2007] began operation in 2003. Petro-Canada was also developing a $33 billion Fort Hills Project, in partnership with UTS Energy Corporation and Teck Cominco, which lost momentum after the 2009 merger of Petro-Canada into Suncor. If approved,[22] upgraders were slated to begin output in 4–5 years.

    But yeah, oil from oil sands is nasty, nasty stuff. From what I've heard, if keystone pipeline is completed and we start importing large quantities of the stuff, there's basically no chance at all of staying under the 450 ppm mark. We'll shoot past 500, which is where all the fun methane-induced feedback cycles start happening.

  • PhillisherePhillishere Registered User regular
    Really though, in my opinion one of the quickest way to start resolving this issue is to start really talking about getting over the NIMBA bullshit and really embrace nuclear power. It's clean as hell these days, it's highly efficient, and reduces this whole global warming thing by orders of magnitude (if we use it en mass, as well as other issues). I say ignore Canadian oil (especially the sands, since that's just huge waste and shouldn't even be talked about), and start building reactors across the world.

    Edit: Sorry to talk about energy so much, but I really feel that the energy crisis is very closely tied to the climate crisis. If we can get over our own ignorant and dated beliefs, one will solve the other.

    The really scary economic point seems to be when does fertilizer become cripplingly expensive. The Green Revolution exploded our population from 1.1 billion in 1940 to 7 billion today and estimated to top a trillion by 2025. What happens when scarcity makes it too expensive to manufacture the amount of fertilizer needed to feed 1 trillion people.

    That's going to be a fun world to live in.

  • Anon the FelonAnon the Felon In bat country.Registered User regular
    I didn't say we couldn't gather and refine it, I said it wasn't exactly economical or ecological. Which it isn't. Sure, we use oil sands and have been for a while, but it's just not a good source of fuel and won't be until the technology "gets there".

    But I wasn't exactly clear.

  • Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    Really though, in my opinion one of the quickest way to start resolving this issue is to start really talking about getting over the NIMBA bullshit and really embrace nuclear power. It's clean as hell these days, it's highly efficient, and reduces this whole global warming thing by orders of magnitude (if we use it en mass, as well as other issues). I say ignore Canadian oil (especially the sands, since that's just huge waste and shouldn't even be talked about), and start building reactors across the world.

    Edit: Sorry to talk about energy so much, but I really feel that the energy crisis is very closely tied to the climate crisis. If we can get over our own ignorant and dated beliefs, one will solve the other.

    The really scary economic point seems to be when does fertilizer become cripplingly expensive. The Green Revolution exploded our population from 1.1 billion in 1940 to 7 billion today and estimated to top a trillion by 2025. What happens when scarcity makes it too expensive to manufacture the amount of fertilizer needed to feed 1 trillion people.

    That's going to be a fun world to live in.

    pretty sure we won't have 1 trillion people lol...
    but yeah, we're going to have to learn how to farm again, instead of just dumping seeds into fertilizer.

  • DoctorArchDoctorArch Curmudgeon Registered User regular
    ElJeffe wrote:
    seabass wrote:
    I'm doing my part by not having children, among other obvious things like recycling, having those fancy power strips that actually let you avoid the passive draw from your electronics, and replacing my light bulbs.

    I have lots of children and then use them to power my giant hamster wheels.

    Isn't the idea of the smart people not having children kinda/sorta the main theme of Idiocracy?

    I want children, I understand the burden they place on the world, but I plan on raising my children to at least not be damned idiots. Ironically, religions have it right, and that if you want to spread your message and beliefs having children is a surefire way to do it.

  • Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    I didn't say we couldn't gather and refine it, I said it wasn't exactly economical or ecological. Which it isn't. Sure, we use oil sands and have been for a while, but it's just not a good source of fuel and won't be until the technology "gets there".

    But I wasn't exactly clear.

    It's terrible for the planet, yes, in all kinds of ways. But the oil companies are making a shitload of money doing it. I don't know why you think it's not economical for them.

  • PhillisherePhillishere Registered User regular
    Pi-r8 wrote:
    pretty sure we won't have 1 trillion people lol...
    but yeah, we're going to have to learn how to farm again, instead of just dumping seeds into fertilizer.

    Shit. 10 billion. Got in a hurry looking at the abbreviated numbers and not thinking it through.

  • Anon the FelonAnon the Felon In bat country.Registered User regular
    Pi-r8 wrote:
    I didn't say we couldn't gather and refine it, I said it wasn't exactly economical or ecological. Which it isn't. Sure, we use oil sands and have been for a while, but it's just not a good source of fuel and won't be until the technology "gets there".

    But I wasn't exactly clear.

    It's terrible for the planet, yes, in all kinds of ways. But the oil companies are making a shitload of money doing it. I don't know why you think it's not economical for them.

    Hehe, I suppose that's a correct statement. I'm going to drop that side of the argument though. Since it has a high chance to derail this thread unnecessarily. The point that is admittedly true is that the mentioned oil sands are stupidly bad for the world and should be ignored. I mean the same could be said for a lot of energy sources. Coal? Coal is terrible for the environment. Like holy shit bad.

  • PhillisherePhillishere Registered User regular
    edited November 2011
    Pi-r8 wrote:
    pretty sure we won't have 1 trillion people lol...
    but yeah, we're going to have to learn how to farm again, instead of just dumping seeds into fertilizer.

    One major problem is that land using synthetic fertilizers becomes essentially a neutral culture. Industrial agriculture kills the bacteria and strips the minerals needed for soil to naturally support plant life. The soil can be rehabilitated, but it's a time and resource intensive process.

    That means that billions of acres of developed farmland is going to have to be restored, largely by hand, acre by acre. During a food crisis.

    Cuba did it during the Special Period, but that was a stable nation at peace and with a functioning central government.

    Phillishere on
  • Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    Pi-r8 wrote:
    pretty sure we won't have 1 trillion people lol...
    but yeah, we're going to have to learn how to farm again, instead of just dumping seeds into fertilizer.

    One major problem is that land using synthetic fertilizers becomes essentially a neutral culture. Industrial agriculture kills the bacteria and strips the minerals needed for soil to naturally support plant life. The soil can be rehabilitated, but it's a time and resource intensive process.

    That means that billions of acres of developed farmland is going to have to be restored, largely by hand, acre by acre. During a food crisis.

    Cuba did it during the Special Period, but that was a stable nation at peace and with a functioning central government.

    Yeah, That will not be fun. And it's because of that I disagree with this:
    - Do not waste your money on 'organic food'. Most of the time it isn't locally grown anyway, and it does not in reality actually reduce emissions. Farmers are still going to sew & harvest their crops to sell, even if demand did decline (which it won't anyway).
    At least with organic food, we're not totally dependent on oil to make it grow.

  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    We'll probably be ok on fertilizer for our lifetime, and that is not the biggest concern in farming really, powering the farm equipment is my biggest concern. Part of why our food is as cheap as it is, is the farm equipment we use increase productivity by a significant amount. Also shipping the food around.

  • redxredx I(x)=2(x)+1 whole numbersRegistered User regular
    edited November 2011
    Pi-r8 wrote:
    redx wrote:
    Yeah, but there are still hajillions of barrels of oil in Canada, 100 years worth of natural gas in the US, and we don't really seem to be getting anywhere near running out of Coal.

    It's harder to get at than the fossil fuels in the middle east, but we aren't really anywhere near running out. We just have to chop the tops off mountains, shatter bedrock and create massive amounts of waste to get at it.

    I really hope you aren't referring to the oil sands when speaking of Canada. Since, while they are in technical terms a source of fuel, the technology to gather and refine the fuel is not quite there yet. It exists but is cost prohibitive and not very "clean". In order to gather the oil sands we're looking at 30 years of focused R&D in order to get the costs down to where it's rational. I believe it's also very harmful the environment to harvest it, but I could be remembering wrong on that point.

    Um... according to wikipedia, you're wrong.
    The Alberta oil sands have been in commercial production since the original Great Canadian Oil Sands (now Suncor) mine began operation in 1967. A second mine, operated by the Syncrude consortium, began operation in 1978 and is the biggest mine of any type in the world. The third mine in the Athabasca Oil Sands, the Albian Sands consortium of Shell Canada, Chevron Corporation, and Western Oil Sands Inc. [purchased by Marathon Oil Corporation in 2007] began operation in 2003. Petro-Canada was also developing a $33 billion Fort Hills Project, in partnership with UTS Energy Corporation and Teck Cominco, which lost momentum after the 2009 merger of Petro-Canada into Suncor. If approved,[22] upgraders were slated to begin output in 4–5 years.

    But yeah, oil from oil sands is nasty, nasty stuff. From what I've heard, if keystone pipeline is completed and we start importing large quantities of the stuff, there's basically no chance at all of staying under the 450 ppm mark. We'll shoot past 500, which is where all the fun methane-induced feedback cycles start happening.

    I was in fact referring to the oil sands. If oil companies are willing to spend the monetary and political capital to build a pipeline, they believe it will produce a good quantity of oil. The was some cat talking about it on the daily show, and apparently they believe the amount of oil in the fields there is second only to the fields in Saudi Arabia. I agree with the notion that it will be horribly damaging to the environment, which is why I mention massive amounts of waste, in with fracking and mountaintop removal.

    We [probably] reached peak energy a while ago, which is why we are dicking with oil sands, shale oil/gas and more aggressive methods of coal production. Energy costs more to produce, but that's not likely to save us from global climate change.

    redx on
    This machine kills threads.
  • CycloneRangerCycloneRanger Registered User regular
    Peak energy?

    I have a hard time believing that's a thing. We still have huge untapped reserves of fission fuels and nuclear fusion is currently an engineering problem and nothing more--there's nothing fundamental stopping us from generating ten or a hundred times humanity's current power demand, and with much less environmental impact than what we generate now.

    Fission, fusion, and solar all have the potential to provide all of mankind's energy needs for the foreseeable future--solar perhaps less than the others due to the large area required.

  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    Peak energy?

    I have a hard time believing that's a thing. We still have huge untapped reserves of fission fuels and nuclear fusion is currently an engineering problem and nothing more--there's nothing fundamental stopping us from generating ten or a hundred times humanity's current power demand, and with much less environmental impact than what we generate now.

    Fission, fusion, and solar all have the potential to provide all of mankind's energy needs for the foreseeable future--solar perhaps less than the others due to the large area required.
    Don't get me wrong I love nuclear power as a solution. It is relatively clean and some of the reactors in the works are going to be fantastic. The only issue I have is that we need vehicles with power, and nuclear power is hard to put in a car. We need better batteries, but I do like the idea of nuclear power and I have been following a company with an ingenious nuclear power scheme. Essentially small modular reactors that they in essence bury and hook up to the grid, after 5-10 years they dig up the reactor replace it and take the old one back to the facility reprocess the nuclear material and do it again.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_Moderated_Self-regulating_Nuclear_Power_Module

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