- Date published:
5:34 pm, August 9th, 2015 - 139 comments
Categories: capitalism, climate change, energy, Environment, Ethics, global warming, science - Tags: Anderson, climate change, fossil fuels, global warming
To have any chance of avoiding very dangerous levels of global warming and the climate change that rides shot gun on the warming, the world must be burning absolutely no fossil fuels by, at the latest, 2050.
In a world that cannot burn fossil fuels, there are no carbon credits to be bought and sold. No-one seems to have alerted our government to that simple fact: zero is zero. And although the New Zealand government might say that New Zealand’s too small to make a difference, and anyway, most of New Zealand’s emissions come from land use, it’s worth repeating, zero is zero. And we’ve got 35 years.
Meanwhile, cumulative emissions are increasing by about 2 or 3% per year and the fossil fuel industries are being subsidised by over US $5 trillion per year by governments that made a commitment to keep the world’s warming below 2 degrees C. New Zealand’s annual subsidy is to the tune of some US$2.5 Billion
Link to page that contains link to spread sheet for NZ figures
Putting aside that we’re paying, what some might refer to as ‘the executioner’, there are quarters suggesting we place our faith in carbon capture and storage (CCS). Hmm, here’s the thing about CCS in a world that must be at zero by 50. It hasn’t any place for CCS. We cannot be burning any fossil fuels, no matter how efficiently or cleanly in that scenario.
Another carbon capture idea is to suck CO2 directly from the atmosphere. (Anyone else instantly seeing weird images of Dr Seuss type sucky machines?) Okay, let’s just imagine the technology gets invented.
In 2013 the world emitted 36Gt of CO2 from cement and fossil. Being optimistic, we might aim to suck a 1/3rd, or somewhere over 10Gt of that CO2 from the atmosphere – every year, year after year and then store it somehow and somewhere. To put that in perspective, 10 Gt of CO2 is ~3x the weight of carbon and is more than the combined annual global tonnage of coal, (7000-8000 Mt) and gas and oil that the world currently extracts. Now think of the infrastructure that’s been required just to extract the fossil we use and how long it’s taken to build up. Can you still imagine a Carbon Capture and Storage Industry with all its required additional infrastructure spanning the globe in, say, 20 years from now? Me neither.
Anyway, there’s another flaw with sucking carbon from the atmosphere. Most of the carbon we expelled has been absorbed by the oceans. So, remove all the excess carbon from the atmosphere – get us back to 285ppm – and the oceans will continue to heat up and acidify.
What to do? Well, as any 10 year old might say, stop using fossil fuels. It really is that simple.
I know what’s going to happen mind. People, maybe yourself included, will jump in cars and on planes, and on a good day for awareness – shrug. And no government will bring in efficiency standards or roll out policies to tackle the problem. And for the 1 – 5% of humanity who are responsible for about 40 – 60% of emissions, the globe trotting holidays/shopping trips/conferences and what not will continue. And the private jets and ocean going yachts of the super rich won’t be getting grounded or berthed.
And in December in Paris, world political leaders will make a lot of positive noise over woefully inadequate plans of action. Some people, no doubt, will cheer and convince themselves that something’s being done.
Then 2020 will roll round and the 2 degrees C of average surface warming that’s already locked in now will be creeping inexorably upwards to…well, who knows what?
I wouldn’t get too stressed out about it Bill, it’s out of your hands.
Personally I don’t stress about much these days, why worry about this or that when there’s fuck all you can do about it, talk about a sure fire recipe for a stroke or at least multiple ulcers.
My advice is to concentrate on shit you know, you actually have the ability to make a difference about, the rest whatever will be, will be.
All that craven lip service to personal responsibility, and then the mask slips.
BM just proved exactly how much personal responsibility that the RWNJs actually take despite their rhetoric – none.
Possibly the most sensible comment you’ve ever made here
If you can or can’t fix something….either way there is no need to worry about it
Yes yes yes of course it can be done ! Lets do it!
“at the latest, 2050” you are about 100 to 200 years too late.
400 ppm Co2 + upwards of 2 ppm CH4 = + 6 c, regardless of if humans are here or not.
This is one of the latest ‘better’ interviews on this sort of stuff, but even Peter under estimates the forcing factor of CH4/CO2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xdOTyGQOso .
Good luck with the King Canute thing.
” To have any chance of avoiding very dangerous levels of global warming and the climate change that rides shot gun on the warming, the world must be burning absolutely no fossil fuels by, at the latest, 2050. ”
With respect Bill, we’re all human and fallible, this statement is utter BS. Never mind eh? Crack open another beer you’ll feel better.
Argue the veracity of the statement with the science, not me.
Since you want to argue the science, please show me the science for the 2 degree temperature level.
“Crack open another beer you’ll feel better” Zero is zero John, “it’s worth repeating, zero is zero. And we’ve got 35 years” those bubbles in your beer, CO2, think of the environment before you open that next beer.
Also, Bill “Another carbon capture idea is to suck CO2 directly from the atmosphere. (Anyone else instantly seeing weird images of Dr Seuss type sucky machines?)”, nope, I picture trees. How about we revert to building housing using wood, the trees capture carbon, the buildings store it. I was in the Waikato over the weekend, there was a fair amount of currently un-profitable land there with alluvial soil which would be perfect for just such a job. Would help clean up our waterways a bit at the same time, win/win!
Trees …. yeah right Bob
Humans have put the equivalent of every tree, blade of grass, and creature born or grown since Christ through our exhaust pipes, or smoke stacks in the last 5 years. Something like 45 to 90 cubic kilometers worth of carbon etc, good luck removing that
“I know what’s going to happen mind.”
Indeed. Sorry to be blunt in the next bit…
Fuck it Bill it is time to leave the ‘must stop burning fossil fuels’ line in the rubbish bin – it is too late!!! Too Late!!! You know it and I know it and a few others know it. Building resilience, building communities and as much self sufficiency as possible is the way to go now. I’m sorry but arguing about whether it is happening and/or trying to get them to stop using fossil fuels is a waste of time and energy which would be better spent educating those that will listen in knowledge and technologies probably relating to at least the start of the 20th century. imo we need you working on that Bill not trying to convince the inconvincable that they shouldn’t burn fossil fuels.
What is the point on building resiliency if the ecosystems that sustain life are going to be destroyed?
My thing is resiliency building too, but I see the work that people like Bill are doing as equally important.
None of us know if it is too late. Myself, I’m in two minds about it. To argue such a defeatist line is abandoning life to mass destruction. That is completely against all resiliency ethics IMO.
And if we are going to be blunt about it, stopping resistance and focussing on making ourselves as comfortable as possible is pretty much what BM is arguing in the first comment. It’s the libertarian, I’ll be alright ethic.
of course everyone can talk and write about anything they want and sorry Bill if I was telling you what to write – my bad sorry.
“What is the point on building resiliency if the ecosystems that sustain life are going to be destroyed?”
what is the point of anything under that scenario?
I am pleased you think it is still possible to avert disaster.
It is NOT defeatist to make provision for the likely scenario and it is NOT anything like BM’s ‘forget about it’ attitude.
The defeatist attitude is the head in the sand one – that is giving up, that is letting go of responsibility rather than working to make it better for people.
The talkfest will continue and some of us will get on with getting ready for a future that is already here. I am not defeatist in the slightest and my children will have the best possible chance of creating great lives because I am not defeatist.
“focussing on making ourselves as comfortable as possible” – you couldn’t be more wrong.
“what is the point of anything under that scenario?”
The impact of climate change is not black and white, there is no line to have crossed over. Therefore if you are right, there is still much value in resistance and working for change because every year we use less fossil fuels the more chance there is of less damage to ecosystems. We can even think about this in human-centric terms if we want. If instead we take the view that it’s too late to do much to stop it, we won’t take the actions that can limit the damage. I don’t understand why you would want to do that.
Saying that it’s too late IS defeatist. Saying we should stop trying to change FF use IS defeatist. I don’t care about people like BM who are just too selfish to do much else, but it’s unconscionable for people of resiliency to be making this argument.
“I am not defeatist in the slightest and my children will have the best possible chance of creating great lives because I am not defeatist.”
“focussing on making ourselves as comfortable as possible”
– you couldn’t be more wrong.
And yet those two statements seem similar. If you want your children to have the best possible chance, how is that not about you and your whanau’s survival and comfort?
Nothing I am saying in any way limits or undermines preparation and resiliency responses. Quite the opposite, the more people that become aware of the issues as Bill describes them, the more we will move to post-carbon and the more we will prepare.
I’m a realist, not a defeatist.
Good points – I’m feeling very emotional about this. You raise good points as usual. Yes of course limiting the damage, the effects of climate change, by never giving up is important and necessary.
Defeatist is giving up and that is the opposite of what I believe in and what I am doing. Trying to change this worlds fossil fuel use is beyond the energy I have – I support it but I am not going to sacrifice some future because of wasting energy trying to stop that runaway train – I am done on that one. I applaud those who are actually doing something like reducing their personal fossil fuel use (as I am) but look around – not many can even begin to get their heads around it and frankly I cannot wait for them, I can’t carry them and I can’t save them.
that makes sense marty. I think we have to pick out battles, and I still struggle with that one.
Im as hypocritical as the next person but one phrase in your post is concerning…. “it is happening and/or trying to get them to stop using fossil fuels is a waste of time and energy which would be better spent …”..in case you havnt considered it you are almost certainly one of the “them” and if all us “thems” decided to personally act then something might be achieved.
Yes I am a them but I don’t want to be and are working not to be.
I stand corrected.
Trying to prepare for a 4 degree warmer future while not ‘wasting energy’ on getting an end to fossil fuel use now or ‘as soon as’ would be a waste of time, as the 4 degrees you/we prepared for would be passing straight on through to a world of 4 + x degrees. And over 4 is… I won’t say ‘not survivable’, but you know, the odds certainly slim down pretty fast.
In the meantime, if concerned and essentially good people are under the illusion that leaders or tech can/will get us out of this mess, and if I can point out some of the fallacies involved in their view so that they become less complacent and even drop the sparkly bullshit they’ve strived for in the dirt so they can get ‘down to business’ as it were, then you and I become 3 or 4 or many.
And if ‘many’ tumble to the fact that it’s a relative few who are the principle problem, then who knows what happens next? 😉
I’m not interested in convincing deniers by the way and never have been. If you go back through old posts you’ll see me comment frustration at people engaging in that particular debate.
yeah Bill I’m sorry if I was disrespectful because I do respect you and your views on this. Yes you are correct we have to do what we can to change our world. For some reason I’m feeling quite emotional about this tonight – I’m taking it as a good sign 🙂
thanks for saying that marty. Me too, I nearly didn’t read the post and comments. I think our emotional responses are an important part of the picture.
kia kaha e hoa
No worries. I’m just finding myself quite curious about some of the general tone of this thread in relation to other climate change related posts. It could be my own head space this evening, but I’m getting an impression that something has ‘given’ in a few people.
Denialism, it seems has been replaced with a pouty or sulky teenage posturing and then, yeah…seems a fair few others can’t be fucked to beat about the bush any more.
Wonder what comes next? 🙂
I’ve noticed a change too.
I’ve also been having a few white nights recently, thinking about where to direct my children in terms of their studies.
Also, been away at a noho this weekend and talking to others, who do not have any concern about climate change, which added to the feeling that it was all too much.
Naturally, given the content of the noho – the idea of a national hikoi that engages all communities and culminates at Wellington was my sleep-deprived idea. It would have to be non-partisan but inclusive, and reaching out to all communities – similar to the independence referendums that took place in Scotland.
The routes will need to identify local people who can speak knowledgeably about climate change and provide information in digestible form, and most importantly, provide transition suggestions.
All marae on routes should be approached. The Maori world view regarding the care of Papatuanuku already takes the conversation halfway. The information regarding the damage that has been done, and continues needs to be shared.
This would be huge undertaking, and would require a huge organisational and operational taskforce, as well as a media savvy communications team.
But during and after this – no NZer would be able to say about the importance of this – “Nobody told me!”
That’s really good Molly. Seriously.
From Prof Dr Jim Renwick’s Inaugural lecture at VUW
Having used up 2/3rds of our fossil fuel budget over the past 60 years the Earth has warmed on average around 0.6 degrees C already (around 1.0 degree C since the 1880’s) with more warming still to come even if we stopped emitting CO2 tomorrow owing to the energy imbalance. We are already seeing the effects of this warming world wide with increased winds, frequent high rainfalls, and heavier precipitation events (including snowfall) (there is now 5% more water vapour in the atmosphere than 100 years ago because of the increased temperature), more severe drought – the Earth drys quicker because of increased temperature and stronger winds, and all this results in increased pressures on humanity and the biosphere. Either Governments wake up to the fact that they must act and act quickly or humanity as we know it will cease to exist. I know Robert thinks that it is already too late. He may be right, but the science still says there is a good chance he is wrong and we have a tiny slither of an opening to prevent an overwhelming catastrophe. I believe Paris is our last chance.
I know Robert thinks that it is already too late.
Its the inertia that is the killer, even if it wasn’t way to late, it would be with bells on by the time anything big enough to change squat came along.
The planet can not absorb enough CO2 out of the atmosphere at anywhere near the speed it would need to go to save our butts. It is way beyond human abilities to physically remove CO2, or cool the Arctic enough to stop the CH4 from its continued, and increasing release. And not only the Arctic off the coast of Gisborne there was 700 gas ‘flares’ where last year there were only 50 ?
The main problem with humans is they always want a happy chapter. You know “but what if we did this or that” etc.
Like I keep saying the only thing we can do to help the children, is simply not have them. Everyone above ground and under say 60 is going to suffer from climate change, as a bloody lot of us are now. Just watch the riots in the streets when the climate change failed food crops start to NOT appear in the markets. There will be a lot of hungry people this year.
Lets pretend it isn’t to late ??? Who would vote for 80% unemployment, food rationing, ban on most vehicular transport (except ambulance, police, army), some form of mass sterilization maybe? Vegetarianism, Cuba in the 90s would be nice? It would need martial law to bring into force anywhere near the measures needed to do one iota of good.
‘We’ would have to start to decommission all the nuke power plants, re hydrate the Amazon, re freeze the tundra, re grow a shit load of trees, and remove hundreds of gigatons worth of carbon from the atmosphere.
Its hard to get your head around, because we have all been lied to all of our lives, but then most people are happy with the lies. So we will carry on regardless
Much of the final paragraph is going on and has been for some time
But sure, it will ramp up substantially and some of the punters here will cheers on the extermination
What will be will be
Unless our current method of electing governments completely changes, it’s the status quo for the foreseeable future, nothing is going to change.
Once you come to grips with that, you realize getting worried about it is rather futile.
If you believe that the end is nigh, make your own preparations, don’t worry about anyone else.
You really have no clue as to how social change happens BM.
Is democracy going to disappear any time soon?
[You’ve tip toed right up to the line here BM. The post is about climate change. You want a detached discussion on the nature of democracy? Fine. Not here.] – Bill
Lolz, you haven’t been paying attention either.
I think BM still has this quaint idea that right wing governments actually “listen” to the people. They do, of course, they listen to the people they represent – the multinationals and elite.
Nothing could be clearer on this than the recent response to the “consultation on Climate Change” where not one government MP had the decency to attend even one consultation meeting, where 99% of the submissions both verbal and written called for substantially more action on reducing carbon than is now being offered in the governments response, and the only sector that has been given any consideration was farming and dairy in particular.
I disagree, what most climate changers want would require the removal of the democratic process to make happen.
I’m just trying to point out the difference between fantasy and reality.
Having said that’ l’ll retire from the thread and leave you guys to hypothesize over the different ways you can save the world and humanity.
before you go a question…if you believe making the necessary changes are a fantasy do you then accept that functioning society will be gone by 2050?
BM – it’s happening already.
The idea that AGW was all some anti-capitalist, one world government, democracy subverting plot was only ever just a figment of the extreme right’s idle fantasies.
For people that want to work with the big changes required, check out carbon sequestration and regenerative agriculture/carbon farming. This is different from the Carbon Capture and Storage that Bill is writing off in two important ways. One is that we still need to get to zero carbon by 2050. Any sequestration is about attempting to redress carbon already emitted, so with sequestration there also wouldn’t be any credit schemes or BAU.
The other is that while CCS requires high tech and fossil fuel burning to make happen (assuming the tech is possible and actually gets developped), sequestration via regenag uses natural cycles are are themselves inherently resilient, ecologically restorative and can be done in a zero carbon world. There are multiple critical benefits, and the good news is that such techniques are also the very things we need to build resilient human culture in the face of CC, PO and GFC.
There are some starting links here,
Alan Savory’s work is also a good introduction.
The other big conversation that needs to happen is how could we shift to zero carbon by 2050?
The Peak Oil and Transition movements have done a lot of good work on this, but I think there need to be more politicised voices as well. One of the crucial jobs is how to talk about this in ways that the middle classes can cope with.
The vid link has suggestions that drop vehicle emissions by about 70% over an 8 year period…legislation to back already existing efficiency standards coupled with small reversal in occupancy rates. (@19:30)
In the end, I think the middle classes, if they are perceived to be hanging on in there as a part of the ~5%, will be treated as many of them treated smokers, druggies and whichever other fashionable undesirable they latched their prejudice on to. Except that for them, society will be coming for them as though all pumped up on steroids. Quite simply, they’ll be stopped.
For those that jump aboard…or abandon ship… they’ll essentially only have to shift their concept of wealth from it being an individual asset to it being a community asset. That one shift in attitude/belief has huge knock on effects on how people live. It’ll come easier for some than it will for others.
Those that can’t or won’t make the shift will be left wearing the shoes that no-one will be wanting to be filling: the ~5%.
Probably not the positive type of scenario you were looking for, but hey. 😉
no, but only in the sense of it if plays out that way it will be too late. In NZ most people have something to lose in the short and medium term. I can call them the middle classes, but I don’t mean that in the historic sense. I mean the people that are currently doing ok, or think they will be doing better in the future. If they make up the bulk of the population who are the people that will be putting their backs against the wall come the revolution? I mean, I can see that happening eventually, with a gradual shift of most people into the category that will be forced to downsize, but that’s the scenario we don’t want to have to rely on because that’s us at 2030 still using FF.
What I meant was that before then we need to change the conversation so that people can see a way from where they are now to post-carbon by 2050. That’s what I see you doing with these posts (changing the conversation), and it’s about how to get that to a point where it’s normal. I already see that change happening btw, and I think we can also make it happen more.
I agree with Charles below. People will be more willing to change in a timely manner if they’re given scenarios they can cope with. I don’t mean being light and fluffy about it, but being shown actual pathways to the powerdown. That’s going to be different for the likes of you and me than say a couple with 2 kids, a mortgage, 2 jobs etc. We need those people to start getting it and preaching to their peers. And not just because of their numbers, but because they also have power and influence (David Holmgren reckoned it would take something like 5% globally of the middle classes taking their investments out of the global economy to crash it).
No, they’ve learnt to support and stabilise the financial markets with QE and other sleight of hand trickery.
hmm, ok. But surely there must be some % whereby it would fall over. Otherwise it’s invincible (which doesn’t make sense).
Something to remind us and scare the bejesus out of ourselves too.
Climate change: how hot will it get in my lifetime? – interactive
The UN is to publish the most exhaustive examination of climate change science to date, predicting dangerous temperature rises. How hot will it get in your lifetime? Find out with our interactive guide, which shows projections based on the report
Hansen is cautiously optimistic.
James Hansen’s new climate study is terrifying, but he still has hope
When James Hansen speaks, climate hawks listen. Hansen was legendary during his long career as NASA’s chief climatologist for being ahead of the curve on seeing the threat of catastrophic climate change. Now he teaches at Columbia University, and he has more bad news to deliver. According to a study conducted by Hansen and 16 coauthors, being published this week in the European Geophysical Union’s open-access journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, the effects of even moderate warming on sea-level rise are worse than previously believed.
Hansen needs to grow a pair and tell his grandchildren they are fucked.
Currently he is ignoring the CH4 coming out of the ESAS region https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xdOTyGQOso
He is in good company with 350.org, another bunch of jokers.
Good video thanks Robert
So he reckons:
– two degrees C of warming is now inevitable regardless.
– 2 deg C goal was not really achievable to begin with; today we are looking more like 4 deg C or 5 deg C increase and that is what must be avoided.
– the Arctic will be ice free this summer or in the next one or two summers.
– a 50% chance of a massive methane release from the arctic oceans bringing a very rapid 0.6 deg C rise in temperatures.
– sea level rise of 2m, 3m or 4m this century is more likely than 1m
– IPCC as a body has become too conservative and complacent in its projections.
– our children won’t have a positive future on Earth unless we put forward a massive effort now to understand and stop climate change.
– the forces of inertia preventing real action are enormous; our entire society and lifestyles are predicated on fossil fuels.
– stopping our GHG emissions now will not be enough to save the planet as things have gone too far – we have to actively remove CO2 from the atmosphere.
– severe climate change effects will be obvious to all in roughly ten years time.
100% Best summation of the interview I’ve seen so far!
cheers; it’s very sobering
John Baez from The Azimuth Project –
what’s interesting is that denying there’s a problem and despairing that there’s a solution have similar consequences: namely, inaction.
bailing out the Titanic with a bucket is “action”, but one has to be said – so what?
In the big wide world, outside of Tony Abbott’s and John Key’s little Absurdistan’s, coal is rapidly becoming a pariah. In the US the business is dying:
Neither China nor India want to build their futures on it. The Australian industry risks it’s assets being ‘stranded’:
“China’s premier has made it clear he’s waging a war on pollution and the clear message is that they want anything other than coal.
China, the US, Japan and India are making huge solar investments:
Even here in NZ Genesis closed down the last two generators at Huntly just last week:
Short of a dry year emergency, they are unlikely to be ever run again.
Just five short years ago these links would have been unthinkable. Of course it would have all been a lot cheaper and more effective if we had done this 30 yrs ago. Even Margaret Thatcher knew this. But the corporate filth with the money and power to market their self-serving lies (just as they did with tobacco) have cost us very, very dearly.
Just last night I was looking at pictures of the Bonnar glacier (it’s the one under Mt Aspiring and the most common approach route.) The difference between when I was there in the early 80’s and now is quite stark. And with another 2-4 degC or so baked into the cookie, it will only get far worse before it ever gets better.
I think no coal burning by 2030 is actually quite plausible. By 2040 any economic asset dependent on cheap oil will be obsolete. By 2050 we may even see the end of natural gas. There are some massive challenges; in particular we need to see a massive breakthrough in electrical storage – and I’d not suggest we will sustain our currently profligate lifestyles.
Could be lotsa pain between now and then too.
Forget the so-called ‘pause’ in global warming—new research says we might be in for an era of deeply accelerated heating. While the rate of atmospheric warming in recent years has, indeed, slowed due to various natural weather cycles—hence the skeptics’ droning on about “pauses”—global warming, as a whole, has not stopped. Far from it. It’s actually sped up, dramatically, as excess heat has absorbed into the oceans. We’ve only begun to realize the extent of this phenomenon in recent years, after scientists developed new technologies capable of measuring ocean temperatures with a depth and precision that was previously lacking.
Roberts and his team found that a “slow down” period is usually (60 percent of the time) followed by rapid warming at twice the background rate for at least five years, and potentially longer. And mostly, this warming would be concentrated in the Arctic, a region where temperatures are already higher than the global average, and which is widely recognized to be a barometer of the health of the global climate due to how Arctic changes dramatically alter trends elsewhere. Recent extreme weather events around the world have been attributed to the melting Arctic ice sheets and the impact on ocean circulations and jet streams.
What this means, if the UK Met Office is right, is that we probably have five years (likely less) before we witness a supercharged surge of rapid global warming that could last a decade, further destabilizing the climate system in deeply unpredictable ways.
Oh yes .. and as Dr Tim Naish will tell you – when the WAIS let’s go, there is good evidence that it does so quite quickly. Within decades, not centuries. 7 metres of sea level rise right there.
In the rich tapestry of possibilities, that would be the one I lay money on.
OMG! What about Greenland!
“In the big wide world, outside of Tony Abbott’s and John Key’s little Absurdistan’s, coal is rapidly becoming a pariah. In the US the business is dying:”
Indeed, but it’s been killed by fracking. I’m not sure that is something you would support.
Our government’s half arsed “commitment” :
What we actually need to do:
Was at a wee presentation where someone had crunched the numbers on that.
Funnily enough, the commitment was better than the previous commitment; the one based on 1990 levels. But they didn’t focus on energy (I think they were only going for a 4% saving on road transport!) and they had a massive amount of carbon credit buying embedded in it.
The tough components are steel and concrete. Industrial civilisation has no substitute for them, and both a extremely carbon intensive.
I do think we will ultimately need some level of carbon offsetting. Actual zero emissions is probably unrealistic.
Which puts a huge premium on developing carbon sequestration. weka has frequently mentioned soil carbon storage, and this is the kind of thing NZ can and should be doing.
True – however there are some advances particularly in steel making technology. The recently developed Hisarna process has cut Carbon emissions by 20%. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIsarna_steelmaking_process
And recycling of steel also produces far less emissions.
It’s Not Climate Change – It’s Everything Change.
The future without oil! For optimists, a pleasant picture: let’s call it Picture One. Shall we imagine it?
There we are, driving around in our cars fueled by hydrogen, or methane, or solar, or something else we have yet to dream up. Goods from afar come to us by solar-and-sail-driven ship — the sails computerized to catch every whiff of air — or else by new versions of the airship, which can lift and carry a huge amount of freight with minimal pollution and no ear-slitting noise. Trains have made a comeback. So have bicycles, when it isn’t snowing; but maybe there won’t be any more winter.
Then there’s Picture Two. Suppose the future without oil arrives very quickly. Suppose a bad fairy waves his wand, and poof! Suddenly there’s no oil, anywhere, at all.
Everything would immediately come to a halt. No cars, no planes; a few trains still running on hydroelectric, and some bicycles, but that wouldn’t take very many people very far. Food would cease to flow into the cities, water would cease to flow out of the taps. Within hours, panic would set in.
+1 fantastic link
More from the rather excellent Climate Futures tag on Medium:
The Culture of A World Without Oil
Now we have daily news of the struggle between that incoming culture and the still dominant oil-based culture of consumption on which we are so dependent. By the culture of consumption I mean a culture that values buying things, experiences and brands in and for itself; we were shopping long before oil and gas, but their plenitude stimulated an entire way of life, especially associated with the automobile, that initially became visible after the First World War in the ‘Roaring Twenties’ (cf. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby), but really took over after World War II as oil replaced coal as the dominant global energy source beginning in the early 1960s. Supplanting the coal-based culture that depended on a disciplined work force, oil and gas made possible a widespread culture that has certainly benefited many, but which rested on ultimately unsustainable assumptions. Whereas people in the coal culture were defined in relation to the production process (as workers or capitalists, for instance), in a world powered by oil and gas we were all encouraged to see ourselves simply as consumers.
“Hard Ceilings” Doomed Past Societies
Can we do better?
Without energy, we die.
That is the law of entropy: over time, complex arrangements of matter break down unless they can capture constant inputs of free energy from outside themselves. You can test the theory yourself: if you stop taking in energy from food, the complex arrangement that is you will break down after a couple of weeks. If you stop taking in energy from water, the breakdown will begin after a couple of days. If you stop taking in oxygen, it comes after after a couple of minutes.
So far, humans have found three main ways of capturing energy in addition to breathing and drinking water. The first, historically, was foraging (hunting wild animals and gathering wild plants). Next came farming (cultivating domesticated animals and plants), and then the use of fossil fuels (augmenting the energy of animals and plants with that trapped in coal and oil). We have tinkered with a fourth set of sources — nuclear and solar — but have not yet done much with them.
There is nothing you can do. Not until it’s too late anyway.
Population control is the first thing that needs to happen, and it’s not going to.
Enjoy the ride while it lasts.
Is that Stage 4 or Stage 5 denial there infused?
Nah, it’s yet another demonstration of “personal responsibility”.
Both I think. But has anyone else noticed the rather dramatic shift in the RWNJs here in the recent past. They don’t even bother to put up an argument now about the actual facts, it’s just straight to ‘there is nothing you can do’. TINYCD, TINA’s big brother.
I’ll just reiterate a point made in the linked vid. Population levels are a sustainability problem, not a climate change or global warming problem.
Bill. The one line that sums this mess up quite well. Oh and a good little tune to boot.
The framing of the Climate Change argument is “too big”. Christ, people still read the Herald for Godssake, arguing all day that poor people must die for profit, and we want them to understand the potential effects of Climate Change? Better off building a silent mitigation plan into every policy and action. Now that they’re convinced god is dead, they have nothing to lose. From where we are now, we’d have to learn how to increase their pleasure using less resource intensive stimulus, rahter than just yell at them the World is about to fry them and they should repent. No one gives a shit when it’s framed as an apocalypse, and I can’t blame them. If the sun was about to crash into the Earth would you open a bottle of your best, or make love to your favourite, or hug your kids one last time, or anything that lights up a pleasurable response one last time? Or would you sit there moaning, “We failed…. we FAILED EEEEIIIYEEEEE!”. Politics is about directing Human nature.
“Better off building a silent mitigation plan into every policy and action.”
What, like the Green Parties have been doing for years? 😉
“No one gives a shit when it’s framed as an apocalypse, and I can’t blame them.”
Which is why the Transition and other movements have focussed on being informed and then on what can be done in very practical ways. Their framing is honest about the situation but not keeping it centre stage and instead giving people something that they can feel good about.
Having said that, the main problem is that too many people don’t understand how bad things are. I think we need posts like Bill’s in the political sphere, because we also need political solutions (and no, I don’t mean waiting for govt).
I think most people still have a concept of something larger than themselves being important even if that’s not a traditional concept of god.
Well someone has to say it, The root cause of climate change is lending at interest. The first step to zero carbon is To forgive all debts. this is whee we must begin
If you believe climate change needs to be addressed, the single best thing you can do as an individual is go vegan. You know how the Green Party is always saying that even though NZ is a small country, it should do its bit to fight climate change? Well, that applies to citizens as well. What kind of moral credibility do you have to talk about climate change when you’re unwilling to make a small change in your life? Note that the environmental benefits of veganism are just that: benefits. The *reason* to go vegan is the simple fact that we shouldn’t be commodifying, hurting and killing animals for the sake of our palate pleasure. But, yeah, if you are an “environmentalist” who consumes animal product, you need to seriously rethink your daily choices.
CO2 from soya production and distribution?
CO2 from local wild meat?
Black and white arguments tend to go nowhere and miss some pretty obvious points. I’ve nothing against veganism per se, but it’s simply not the panacea some think it to be. Meanwhile, I’d quite happily see industrial scale farming consigned to the dustbin of history’s bad ideas.
Whatever you think about soy production, Bill, the fact remains that the crushing majority of soy grown in the world exists for the purposes of being fed to livestock. Very little is actually used for human consumption.
Like I said, the FAO and UNEP, among many others, have concluded we can seriously alleviate environmental destruction by going vegan. If you’re that paranoid about soy, guess what, mate? You don’t need to eat tofu when you’re vegan (even though there is locally-grown tofu available right here in NZ). There are no “rules” to veganism, except for one: don’t commodify other sentient beings.
Yeah well, guess what mate? (To adopt your phraseology).
Veganism? Been there, done that.
Putting aside the various CO2 costs of production and distribution of various products.
What difference, in terms of CO2, is there between me driving to the local health food store to buy organic pulses and driving to the supermarket to buy local eggs?
What about if in both scenarios, walking, cycling or public transport was used instead of driving?
When back home, what’s the difference, in terms of CO2 production, between preparing the pulses or eggs on an electric or gas stove and preparing them on top of a wood burning stove?
And so on. It’s about energy.
You’re clearly getting desperate, mate. I told you organizations like the FAO and UNEP have clearly told us that animal agriculture is one of the biggest culprits behind the destruction of the environment. What part of that simple statement do you not understand? Are you aware of how much water is needed to produce the animal products you consume daily? Do you understand the basic *fact* that it takes many pounds of vegetable protein to produce a bit of animal protein?
Let’s put environmental issues aside, though, as you’re clearly unwilling to consider the work of *experts*, and you just want to rely on your own uninformed “common sense”.
Do you think your palate pleasure is important enough to justify the direct and intentional commodification, suffering and death of a nonhuman animal?
The problem is that you frame your comment as the only required solution, even if that is not your intention.
At this point, committed movements towards different aspects of transition are needed, not everybody aboard one boat.
Too much time will be spent framing what is the “problem” and what is the “solution”. An quick look at the idea of emergent problems and how to resolve them Zaid Hassan: Social labs Revolution.
You are already conversing with people who consider CC to be a problem. Don’t waste energy appropriating their concern and energy towards your solution at the expense of theirs.
Everyone can move forward using their own knowledge and energies, – eventually a mutually beneficial state will be achieved as we adopt and consider each others contributions.
Fundamentally untrue and seems to suggest you don’t actually understand what carbon credits are.
If we were to come up with some new technology that allowed us to extract CO2 from the air and store it or dispose of it in a guaranteed-not-to-leak manner, then the act of taking CO2 out of the atmosphere would be generating carbon credits.
Those carbon credits could then be sold to organisations that carry out CO2 releasing activities, eg burning fossil fuels.
The net change in the atmospheric CO2 level could then be zero, or even negative. We could have both carbon credits and fossil fuel burning, in 2050, with 0 impact on atmospheric CO2 levels.
Not understanding your point.
There is ~400ppm atmospheric CO2 and that equates to ~ +2 degrees C. To avoid +2 degrees requires getting that 400ppm down. So I can’t see where carbon credits come into it. Any technology or whatever that could remove CO2 would have to remove over 10Gt per year…that’s an immense amount. And the oceans would still heat and acidify.
All this is in the post. Did you read it?
I did read further down, but your statement that “in a world that cannot burn fossil fuels, there are no carbon credits to be bought and sold” is false. Making such a statement suggests you don’t understand what carbon credits are – I’m reasonably certain that you do, which confuses me as to why you would write an obviously false statement like that.
I outlined exactly how carbon credits can exist, which is actually independent of whether fossil fuels are burned or not.
If there are 50 balls in a jar and we have to remove 20 of them, but every one that’s removed becomes a credit that allows another ball to be put back into the jar, then…yeah.
If we could remove 20 balls quickly and get to a level of balls that was desirable and then maintain that level through issuing credits, then we’d be looking at a completely different scenario to the one we face.
But on a best case technological scenario, we will struggle to remove enough ‘balls’ fast enough.
So a more accurate statement is actually:
“In a world that must reduce carbon concentrations below where they are already at, only carbon credits that cannot be used to offset other carbon production are of any practical use”.
It is still feasible to have carbon credits; one only needs to think of bounty programmes that various governments and authorities have set up over time, usually for the extermination of pests. Every possum tail brought in receives a $2 payment from the government; the government doesn’t want the possum tails, they want the possums to go away, which is represented by a tail.
So carbon credits could be surrendered to the government, and payment received, but the government then doesn’t sell them on to anyone.
In fact, there’s nothing stopping Greenpeace or some other organisation setting up such a scheme with the carbon credits we already have – except for funding of course.
False. The single best thing you can do is not have children.
You can also kill yourself or others, but lets assume that you want to take some action while still being alive, and that the action must be legal.
Are you vegan? If not, why not?
I did my bit for the environment by choosing not to have children.
If you choose to go vegan to try and make up for the environmental damage done by having children, good luck to you.
Are you serious? You think that not having children means you can just go out and commodify, torture and kill animals for the sake of your palate pleasure? Does that really make much sense to you, “Lanthanide”?
You must be a barrel of laughs at a BBQ.
Hey David, will you try to address any of my ideas at all, or will you just act like a troll as most people on this forum seem to be doing?
Seriously, answer a simple question: is your palate pleasure important enough to justify the commodification, suffering and death of an animal?
I made no such claim; although your line of argument suggests if you become a vegan, you can do whatever else you want with the rest of your life, because you won’t be impacting on the environment.
So I’m merely pointing out, that as far as lifestyle choices go, not having children is a far far far bigger relief on the environment than being vegan.
Now you’re apparently wanting to argue the ethics of being vegan. This article is actually about climate change. Maybe you should stop trying to change the topic to the ethics of being vegan, and instead argue the merits of whether having children is better for than environment than having children but giving up animal products is?
Plenty of research has been carried out, and plenty of reports have been issued, telling us animal agriculture is an environmental disaster. You really think that not having children means you can turn around and use your palate pleasure to justify making choices you know are having an incredibly negative effect upon this planet?
And, like I said, veganism is ultimately about recognizing that commodifying, torturing and killing animals for the sake of our pleasure is wrong. The fact that this post doesn’t relate directly to that doesn’t mean you can simply pretend like I never asked you about the ethical implications of consuming animal products.
This post may not be about animals, but this forum is supposed to be about promoting justice. Does it sound just to you, “Lanthanide”, to harm animals for no better reason than your palate pleasure?
“You really think that not having children means you can turn around and use your palate pleasure to make choices you know are having an incredibly negative effect upon this planet?”
No, once again, I am merely pointing out that not having children makes a far bigger impact on the environment than being vegan does.
You’d rather have all the children you want, but as long as you eat some vegan food, your guilt is assuaged and you’ve “done your bit” for the environment?
No, Lanthanide, there are millions of orphans out there. I believe we should look after them before bringing more kids into this world.
Now, what is your reason for not being vegan? What is it about the environmental implications of animal agriculture that you don’t understand? More importantly, what is it about the *basic* idea that commodifying, torturing and killing animals for pleasure is *wrong* that you don’t understand?
“Now, what is your reason for not being vegan?”
I’m greedy and selfish and enjoy animal products.
“What is it about the environmental implications of animal agriculture that you don’t understand? ”
“More importantly, what is it about the *basic* idea that commodifying, torturing and killing animals for pleasure is *wrong* that you don’t understand?”
Vegan for Life, you are conflating ethics with ecology, which is a dishonest way to argue. Whether killing animals is wrong or not is not the same thing as whether a vegan diet is better for the planet in AGW terms. The first can really only be argued on philosophical grounds, but the second can be argued on fact. I agree industrial meat is bad re CC, but so is Monsanto, mono cropped, GE soy, which is what most humans would be eating if they stopped eating feedlot beef. I’m better off eating small amounts of locally raised sheep than I am eating soy imported from China.
Most of the fundamentalist vegan arguments I’ve seen around this are based on false premises inlcuding the idea that somehow growing industrial plants is better than industrial meat. It’s completely the wrong question to be asking. Can you think why? Zero by 50 gives you a hint.
“I did my bit for the environment by choosing not to have children.”
was this an actual thought process, or you have decided this after the fact & are now to old to have kids , or just dont want the responsibility ?
The first option is a bit F*#ked up TBH ,and the second sounds like a bit of an excuse to me
i personally dont go in for all the “population control” BS
theres more than enough for everybody, its how its distributed/used that is the issue/problem
There’s only enough resources for about 1B people to live 1st world lifestyles. We currently have 7B and climbing.
and how many of those 7 billion actually lead (or want ) 1st world lifestyles ?
So if your talking depopulation to save the planet, it would you ( & I ) first on the block
Good thing I don’t and won’t have children then, eh?
thats a matter of perspective i suppose
alternatively, your just gonna be lonely while the world burns !
But not having children now will do squat, @402 ppm CO2 it wouldn’t matter if the population was zero or 10 billion.
But I highly commend you for not having children (for me it was just fools luck, or firing blanks?).
Not having children is saving them from this fast approaching shitstorm, I have problems as to how people can have children, that they profess to love, without first looking into there long time survival ?
I thought I was late to being aware of climate change, peak oil, over population, etc, and that was back in 1999, (there’s been over 2 billion babies born since then), I worked it out in a couple of months, starting at http://www.vhemt.org and http://www.dieoff.org
I was even spoken down to at a royal science meeting or some such in Wellington, when I mentioned methane under/in the Tundra, Lindsay Perigo (?) called me a troglodyte on his talk back show, when I mentioned water shortages in the future.
But my friends and family kept banging out the kids, 3 in the last year, and another on the way.
Note that the environmental benefits of veganism are just that: benefits.
The environmental benefits of walking away from your house, burying your possessions and car in the ground, and going off to try your hand as a hunter/gatherer are also just that: benefits. Just don’t expect a mad rush to participate.
You really think that not consuming meat, eggs or milk products is as drastic as becoming a modern day hunter/gatherer?
The FAO and UNEP have said, loud and clear, that a number of serious global problems can be alleviated, including environmental destruction, through a worldwide diet change away from animal products.
Like I said, too, that is a *bonus* of going vegan. The *reason* to go vegan is simple: you don’t need animal products to be healthy, meaning only a few reasons remain to continue commodifying, torturing and killing animals, such as your palate pleasure. Do you think your pleasure is a good reason to commodify, torture and kill somebody else?
Vegans as religious proselytizers, great it’s what has been missing in the debate to this point.
Filling the Phil Ure shaped gap?
heh I’d say no one apart from P Ure could do that!
Tell us, then, why not go vegan, “Colonial Rawshark”? Seriously, what is so extreme about the basic idea we shouldn’t be commodifying, torturing and killing a nonhuman animal for the sake of our pleasure? Plenty of people in this forum seem to enjoy talking about justice, yet talking is real easy, huh? How about you start showing through your actions, not simply words, that you want a more just world? It’s too bloody easy talking about change when you’re not even willing to change what you have for breakfast.
Said as such below. It’s about energy.
If you acknowledge the CO2 production inherent to the production and distribution of different products (whether meat, dairy or ‘vegan’), then any argument centred on diet becomes more nuanced and it becomes apparent that (insert dietary righteousness of choice) are neither the panaceas nor the ‘devil in garb’ that some want them to be.
Non-industrial and local mixed farming probably trumps any scenario that’s based on remote industrial agriculture.
You can do a vegan diet that’s sourced locally and that has no reliance on remote industrial agricultural processes with stretched distribution lines and all the energy consumption that entails? Cool. But until and unless that’s the case, veganism is a red herring missing some really obvious points.
What are you talking about, Bill? Did you understand the basic facts I told you about? The FAO and UNEP, among many others, have concluded going vegan is *better* for the environment. Do you understand that?
If your reason for not going vegan is your concern for the environment, I’ve got great news for you, mate: you can stop commodifying, torturing and killing animals for the sake of your pleasure and, as a bonus, do your bit to alleviate environmental destruction.
Talking is too easy. Stop being a hypocrite. Go vegan.
[lprent: You are banned from this post because you appear to running a classic diversion tactic from the topic of the post. Use Open Mike which is designed for off-topic discussions.
We don’t mind obsessional nuts on this site. However they have to be obsessional nuts who generally follow site rules and can argue with other people rather than just looking like someone who is just jerking off for their own pleasure.
This is your one warning, and I am putting you into auto-moderation until you acknowledge reading this warning. Repeated attempts to hijack posts will result in a permanent ban. Read the policy. ]
Veganism is a distraction to the topic at hand, and now “Vegan for Life” is bringing up the ethical points of veganism, as if this somehow matters when it comes to climate change. Nature doesn’t give a toss about your ethics.
Yeah I just figured this was nothing more than a diversion off topic but you beat me to it
So the conclusions of the FAO and UNEP as to the environmental implications of animal agriculture are just “a distraction”, Lanthanide?
[Calling time on this. It being a day old post, I’d usually be fairly lax on letting discussion take whatever route. But your just mounting a soap box moral argument that doesn’t address the topic of the post. You’ve repeated points. People have responded. Either explicitly tie your argument to points in the post or desist] – Bill
No, you focussing on the ethics of animal products is a *diversion* of the topic at hand.
Your focus on the small energy differences between our potential dietary sources is a *distraction*. As Bill outlined, diet of course plays a part, but it’s a pretty small one compared to everything else we do in our civilisation. Advocating everyone become vegan as if it is the cure-all – as you definitely have been doing – will not solve the problems we face, even if you were 100% successful.
They’re contestable conclusions that, even if they were uncontested, would be a minor factor when compared to… well, the actual subject of the post, for example.
Are you people joking? So the fact that animal agriculture accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions than all of transportation *combined* makes it a “minor factor” in the climate change situation? Really?
How about the fact that 1kg of meat requires between 5,000 and 20,000 litres of water to be produced? Does that make animal agriculture a “minor factor”?
Or how about the fact that it takes many pounds of vegetable protein to produce a bit of animal protein, meaning all of that destruction nonvegans accuse vegans of taking part in occurs much more significantly when you choose to consume animal products?
You people are really desperate, aren’t you?
Update: How does this sound, Bill? I’ve outlined why animal agriculture is a massive problem for the environment, by making reference to the conclusions of experts. You really don’t think it’s just slightly hypocritical of all of you to shout about climate change while still refusing to make a minor change in your lives?
[ See edit in comment above. Cheers.] – Bill
This guy is simply trolling this thread now.
so Vegans eat processed food,drink coke etc,talk about saving the planet!Wake up to reality.
What the hell are you talking about, “les”? Many vegans don’t eat “processed food, drink coke, etc”. Guess what, though? Even if they did, the environmental destruction that’s caused by consuming vegan junk food is *nothing* compared to the destruction you cause by choosing to consume animal products.
More importantly, when you’re eating processed vegan food, you’re not commodifying any animals. Wake up to reality.
Great off topic diversion you’ve set up here.
Tell that to the FAO and UNEP, “Colonial Rawshark”. Their conclusions on the environmental damage of animal agriculture is just that, huh? A big diversion, right? You people are really weird…
Yeah mate I hear you, and sympathize with all you are saying, 100% agree’
‘They’ don’t like this movie, I shouldn’t get into trouble post the link here http://www.cowspiracy.com/
and all those potato chips and other snacks they eat contributing to obesity!Get things in perspective …please.
[FYI – ‘Vegan for Life’ is sitting in spam now. He won’t be responding to any comments made on this huge diversion he created.] – Bill
“If we were to come up with some new technology that allowed us to extract CO2 from the air and store it or dispose of it in a guaranteed-not-to-leak manner, then the act of taking CO2 out of the atmosphere would be generating carbon credits”
…thought we already had a method of extracting and storing CO2? I believe they are called trees.
Cut them down for dairy farms
observation or proposal?
Just being tongue in cheek.
The thing about trees is they sequester CO2 very gradually, and then you have to ensure that there is an economic way to not touch those trees again, or at least, to ensure they are processed and used in a way which doesn’t add the CO2 back into the environment. (burnt as firewood, anyone? Felled and transported across the world via diesel?)
Yes it is not a silver bullet but it is pretty foolproof (short of forest fires) unlike any manmade process of storage and has additional benefit of cooling properties and processed timber still stores the carbon and the transport/ processing dosnt necessarily require a carbon content or at least a greatly reduced one…..the main restriction is likely the requirement of the land for food production, so we are back to population reduction….bugger
The root cause of climate change is lending at interest
The root cause is human nature, and the nature of life in general to expand and consume all resources.
we still have to try
Our economic system is built on exponential increase of consumption, This to support the interest charged on lending, Unless we address this the rest is just fanfare as the decks slide under
And how it’s usually addressed is through the bubble popping and a large financial crash.
That’s not addressing anything because the fundamental drivers of the system, and the system itself, remains the same. Look at the dairy crash unfolding now. Farmers are going to try and extract even more from their land to make up the shortfall, and the ones which fail will firesale their properties to foreign investors who are going to do the same.
Vegan for Life’ Is right ‘if’ you are under the illusion of ‘0 X 2050’
To get to zero (laugh) we would have to go vegan, but as 9 out of every 10 calories we consume are oil dependent, we are going to have to forgo quite a lot of different foods )
http://oilcrash.com/articles/eating.htm . This essay was written back when we thought this moment in geological time was about another 30 years away, with its Climate Change famines etc.
Back in 2003 most places in the world were still producing food, where as now – post peak oil, with the stuf @ $50 US a barrel, in this climate changed world – crops are failing, or just not being planted,
There is going to be a massive shortage of food for the foreseeable future.
There seem to be 2 main weather patterns at the moment, – drought or flood.
That saying from China in the 60’s comes to mind “You eat my child, and I will eat yours”
If the planet had gone vegan a couple of hundred years ago, and we had kept the population below 500 million or so (?) AND we lived like present day Mongolian yak herders, then maybe we could have survived the ice age that didn’t happen, and humans could have kept going for another 10,000 – 40,000 years or so?
There will be plenty of food for those who can still afford it. For now.