Question of the Day ~ ~ April 22, 2013 Earth Day
How has climate change impacted you?
What are you doing to be part of the solution?
18 years ago we bought 35 acres of land, and planted 16,000 pine trees on it. In part to offset our carbon emissions. Since then they have been pruned and thinned, and there are now some 6,000 stems. We are now a nett benefit to the atmospheric systems, and it isn’t enough. We need much better technology.
15 years ago we moved from sea level to 300ft.
I have spoken about climate change at local, regional and national meetings for the last 20 years.
If the topic comes up, I am happy to speak to it, to lend what credence I have to the need to take effective action, though I often differ with the establishment as to what the most effective action is.
I have been involved in ecological activism for over 40 years, almost as long as I have been self employed.
To me, it is clear that we need to develop effective technologies to take us beyond our present inefficient and polluting technologies, which is happening to a degree.
What is not happening, but needs to, is a fundamental change to the incentive structures that produce our consumption driven mania (market valuation and money). That will not happen easily, and it will happen (needs must).
We seem to be developing understandings of those systems, at many different levels, and it is an “interesting” process. Few people are able to see beyond the “truths” of their culture to the underlying systems and structures.
There is certainly no incentive within the existing systems to seriously challenge their foundational assumptions.
So I’d say I’m being part of the solution, even if many others see me as an annoying problem.
You make quite a few claims that don’t ring true to me.
I just had a look at the numbers for Venus.
It is the hottest planetary surface by far.
It has an atmospheric pressure at the surface that is 92 times that of earth.
The adiabatic lapse rate on earth is 2Deg C per 1,000 ft. The atmospheric pressure doubles every 18,000 ft. To get from 1 bar to 92 bar is 6.5 doublings or 117,000 ft, which would give a surface temp due to adiabatic lapse rate alone of about 250 C. The actual measured temp is about 460 C, the bulk of the difference being due to greenhouse effects – which are real.
The difference between the greenhouse effects measurable in an enclosed space a few meters high compared to that delivered by an atmosphere a few 10s of kilometers high is profound.
Similarly with the other analysis, it does not factor in the positive feedback in this particular system, that could be significant.
And I agree, that it is far from a simple system.
At this point in time, perhaps the worst thing would be an economic slump, as the lack of vapour trails from high altitude jets would mean a significant increase in solar radiation reaching the surface.
It is a very complex system, and humanity has made significant changes to how the ecosystem functions at the global level. We have killed most of the big fish, cut down most of the trees, diverted most of the waterways, etc.
All these things add up.
We could do it all so much more efficiently, and we are getting better.
I am not a pessimist, and nor am I a denier of the clear science that indicates we need to do something.
I disagree with most about what the something is.
For me, it makes sense to provide everyone on the planet with a much higher standard of living, but to do so in an ecologically sustainable fashion. That seems entirely technically possible on a 20 year timescale.
So I am optimistic for the future of both humanity and the ecosystems we share this planet with; and it cannot be done with a “business as usual” approach. And denying the clear science doesn’t help either.
Most of the vocal climate sceptics have a very clear vested interest in being supported by the fossil fuel industry (who are making absolute fortunes from us at present, with profits of over 20,000% on Arabian oil production – costing 20c per barrel to produce and selling for $100 per barrel).
So in my understanding, climate change is a real issue, and it is not a world killer that many are hyping it up to be because we are perfectly capable of solving it technically, we just need to.
Agree with most of what you say.
The worst thing the petrochemical industry is doing is thieving most of the wealth of the western middle classes.
I don’t know that greed is necessarily an accurate description. Most people like to compete, as well as to cooperate. The biggest game in town is “making money” and some people are really good at it, and really competitive at it. It is the incentive structure of the market, and the social value that we as humanity in general have given to the market (and its measure “money”) that are at the root of the issue. Change that incentive structure, and we change everything else.
We’re being conned all right, and the con is much deeper than carbon, it goes right to the heart of the market, and money.