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Our 4°C future
November 20, 2012 3:06 PM   Subscribe

In a report released [Tuesday], the World Bank analyzed the consequences of allowing temperatures to reach 4°C above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century. ... the report's authors admit that predications are a challenge. Still, they do their best to try to paint a picture, and boy, is it grim.
posted by Egg Shen (84 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
Related: It Has Been Nearly 28 Years Since We Have Had a Colder-Than-Average Month (and NO, that is not an Onion headline).

Even most skeptical should pause to wonder.
posted by spock at 3:13 PM on November 20, 2012 [10 favorites]


I hate winter and even this is making me want to just savor every moment of it, & go to Australia to see the coral reefs before they are gone. I sort of feel like when I tell my grandkids about life now they won't believe me.
posted by kettleoffish at 3:15 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


It Has Been Nearly 28 Years Since We Have Had a Colder-Than-Average Month

February 1985, to be precise.

To put that in perspective: Just after the recording of "We Are The World".
posted by Egg Shen at 3:16 PM on November 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


The World Bank sees problems. American Entrepreneurs see ways to make money from those who'd like to survive!
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:17 PM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


American Entrepreneurs are not cool.
posted by de at 3:21 PM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


None of us will be very cool.....
posted by sendai sleep master at 3:23 PM on November 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


Related: Global Climate Change 'A Fantasy,' Says Central Calif. Real Estate Mogul Lex Luthor
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 3:25 PM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fortunately, god will rapture us all before this ever becomes a problem. The faithful ones, anyway.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 3:27 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


As soon as everyone gets on board with the solution to global climate change we'll be just fine.




Whoops.
We are so screwed.
posted by BlueHorse at 3:32 PM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


In a report released [Tuesday], the World Bank analyzed the consequences of allowing temperatures to reach 4°C above pre-industrial levels

*worried face*

by the end of the century

Oh, hey, I'll be dead decades before that. SUCK IT LOSERS.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:34 PM on November 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


I just don't get it. Why are people so adamantly against the idea that the world is experiencing drastic climate change? I don't understand. You have all of these people, scientists - specifically climate scientists saying "Hey, this thing about climate is happening", and then you have a lot of people saying "Silly science man, you're wrong. See how cold it is outside? Hamburger."
posted by Evernix at 3:35 PM on November 20, 2012


> I just don't get it. Why are people so adamantly against the idea that the world is experiencing drastic climate change?

Money.
posted by de at 3:38 PM on November 20, 2012 [18 favorites]


Why are people so adamantly against the idea that the world is experiencing drastic climate change?

Because they're ignorant, have ideological blinders on, and/or have vast amounts of money invested in things are making the situation worse.
posted by treepour at 3:40 PM on November 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


So, what are the chances of adding an extra 4°C by the end of the century? The report estimates that, even if all countries are able to meet their current emissions pledges, there's still a 20 percent chance we'll hit 4°C by the end of the century.

Kevin Anderson, deputy director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research gave a talk at Bristol University on Nov. 6 in which he stated that a 4° increase, without an immediate and drastic reduction in emissions, is all but inevitable (and may actually be a low figure.)

It's also a damning indictment of the context that produces documents like the World Bank's report.
posted by ryanshepard at 3:40 PM on November 20, 2012


Don't confuse the idea that the world is experiencing climate change
with the idea that humans are the cause of that climate change (and so thus can affect a cure). Therein lies the rub.

Also money.
posted by spock at 3:42 PM on November 20, 2012


"Listen, we don't have time for this climate change nonsense right now. We're too busy eliminating the estate tax to ensure everyone can pass nice stuff down to their descendants."
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:43 PM on November 20, 2012 [6 favorites]



Why are people so adamantly against the idea that the world is experiencing drastic climate change?


this:
“I was actually on your side of this issue when I was chairing that committee and I first heard about this. I thought it must be true until I found out what it cost.”
posted by ambrosia at 3:43 PM on November 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


oneswellfoop: The World Bank sees problems. American Entrepreneurs see ways to make money from those who'd like to survive!
How to Survive Societal Collapse in Suburbia, Keith O'Brien, The New York Times Magazine, 16 November, 2012
But the goal isn’t just to sell to the same old preparedness crowd. Red Shed wants to attract liberals and political moderates to a marketplace historically populated by conservatives and right-wing extremists. “It’s not the end of the world,” Douglas told me last spring, making a bold statement for someone in his industry. “It’s not doomsday.” It’s about showing the gun-toting mountain man in his camouflage and the suburban soccer mom in her minivan that they want the same thing: peace of mind. “We don’t say, ‘Hurry up and buy your stuff because Obama is going to ruin the country,’ ” Douglas said. “We don’t get into the political crap. We just want to teach people the lifestyle.”
posted by ob1quixote at 3:46 PM on November 20, 2012


Money is more important than life. Always has been, always will be. Across religions, across cultures, across time. Whenever money comes up against life, money wins. Always.
posted by aramaic at 3:47 PM on November 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


to ensure everyone can pass nice stuff down to their descendants.

Your descendants will be grateful for the Rolex, the bank accounts that might still be capable of paying for a loaf of bread, and the beachfront property under 30 feet of water.

My gift to my descendants is that I didn't have any who will have to live through all this miserable shit.
posted by localroger at 3:48 PM on November 20, 2012 [10 favorites]


Somebody please remind Prof. Krugman and Prof. Reich that not only must we not do things calculated to return us to the high-growth path, we must do more to actively discourage that and achieve actual economic shrinkage.
posted by jfuller at 3:54 PM on November 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


Money is more important than life. Always has been, always will be. Across religions, across cultures, across time. Whenever money comes up against life, money wins. Always.

That reminds me of a passage from Robert Sapolsky.
"Agriculture is a fairly recent human invention, and in many ways it was one of the great stupid moves of all time. Hunter-gatherers have thousands of wild sources of food to subsist on. Agriculture changed all that, generating an overwhelming reliance on a few dozen domesticated food sources, making you extremely vulnerable to the next famine, the next locust infestation, the next potato blight. Agriculture allowed for the stockpiling of surplus resources and thus, inevitably, the unequal stockpiling of them - stratification of society and the invention of classes. Thus, it allowed for the invention of poverty. I think that the punch line of the primate-human difference is that when humans invented poverty, they came up with a way of subjugating the low-ranking like nothing ever before seen in the primate world."
posted by Evernix at 3:56 PM on November 20, 2012 [20 favorites]


Putting special interests aside, I think average people deny climate change for the same reason they don't have their furnace serviced every year, or floss, or any number of preventative actions they can take to help keep unseen problems from becoming significant problems: lack of trust in what they cannot see. People prioritize things they determine to be "real" problems, and if something isn't obviously broken right now, they have a choice of acting on something they cannot see (and looking like a fool if it was unnecessary), or not acting (and feeling smug if it was unnecessary.)

Consider the people facing Hurricane Sandy: they knew it was coming, but they coulodn't see it coming with their own eyes, and when faced with the choice of trusting experts or relying on their own observations, many went with the latter course of action. Here at metafilter, witness how many stated in-thread that they thought it would turn out to be no big deal. A desire to be right, coupled with distrust of authority and a sense that taking action on an unverified (by their own eyes) claim is somehow weak or shameful, has gotten a lot of people in trouble over the years.
posted by davejay at 3:59 PM on November 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


see also the "ha ha i pretended i was going to hit you in the face and you flinched" school of mocking other people for weakness.
posted by davejay at 3:59 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ahem, isn't it time to expand the scope of 'climate change deniers'?

Seems it gets abused as a way of disassociating one's self with the source of the problem. Got a car? Fly to Australia to see reefs before they disappear? On a computer? Chances are very very very high that you carry a disproportionate amount of the blame for climate change. Just Own it.

Moral high ground seems to be about a foot above sea level on this issue.
posted by astrobiophysican at 4:11 PM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's terrifying. But mostly sad. As I drive to work in my SUV tonight, leaving my western-style apartment, I'll be thinking about this. At least I'll have something to talk about. Sadly enough, my co-worker is of the mindset that "the more things fuck up the sooner Jesus is coming!" so we're kind of screwed anyway. No matter how many local cabbages I buy.
posted by shesaysgo at 4:14 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


"The authors predict that typical temperatures in the Mediterranean will be up by roughly 9°C."

So on the plus side, there'd finally be a solution to the Israel/Palestinian problem.
posted by markkraft at 4:16 PM on November 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


jfuller: What we need is to restructure the economy entirely to move us onto a net zero emissions path.

An ongoing depression makes that problem harder, not easier to deal with, because it involves the destruction of productive capacity, particularly surplus capacity that we need to make the transition.
posted by Grimgrin at 4:20 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


It is nothing less than genocide, perpetrated by the oil barons against everyone else. They basically want us all to die off to about 500 million. And frankly, it's about time we started treating it like this.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:20 PM on November 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Canada, and to a lesser extent the US, seem to be betting the farm (and the school and the daycare center etc etc) on fossil fuel production to backstop the economy.

So... oops.
posted by Artful Codger at 4:26 PM on November 20, 2012


I've spent the fall in Japan for the first time in about 8 years (we usually go back during winter or spring), and one thing that has struck me here on the Japan Sea coast is the incredible explosion of kudzu vines.

Kudzu has always been here, and has traditionally thrived in disturbed areas, such as hillsides that have been mined for sand or gravel and left alone, or other marginal areas. But when I lived here before, it was obvious that kudzu has been kept in check by other competitors - Japan is a lush, highly productive ecosystem with lots of competition, so there have been plants that can go toe-to-toe with kudzu and win, or at least achieve a stalemate.

However, kudzu is everywhere now, notably along Rte 8 as it travels up the coast, and inland, covering buildings, trees, groves of trees, railings - you name it. It's not a total invasion, like some parts of the southern US, but it's still noticeable, and detracts from the beauty of rural Japan where I have spent so much time.

I wondered aloud to my wife why kudzu has become such a problem, and she noted it's likely because it's hotter, and it's hotter longer.

When she was a kid growing up here in the 70's, a really hot day in summer would be 30 degrees Celsius. Now that's just an average summer day, and the temperature regularly goes above 35 degrees. And it stays hotter longer. We arrived here in mid-September, and it was still 30 degrees during the day.

So it's likely a longer growing season has given kudzu the advantage it needs to reach that tipping point and explode.

On the flip side, because declining sea ice levels have changed how the Jet Stream flows (it can flow further south over northeast Asia), winters are colder in Japan, and there is a lot more snow. Ten-foot snowfalls are not uncommon here. It was also like this in the 1970's, but I think the amount of snow now is greater than ever before.

And the amount of rain now is amazing, especially in typhoon season.

So northeast Asia definitely seeing the effects of climate change.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:27 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Canada, and to a lesser extent the US, seem to be betting the farm (and the school and the daycare center etc etc) on fossil fuel production to backstop the economy.

The difference is, the US is using cheap fossil fuels as an input to drive other sectors of the economy and make them cost-competitive. In Canada, energy is really the only "healthy" sector of the economy, but it's not a "backstop", as very rapid technological disruption in shale plays has totally undermined the marginal, expensive oil sands production in Alberta.

Royalties are in the process of collapsing at the moment, and Canada's economy is going to be in a considerable amount of trouble in the next few years, especially Alberta.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:32 PM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


de: "American Entrepreneurs are not cool."

Spermbirds agree.
posted by symbioid at 4:32 PM on November 20, 2012


I just don't get it. Why are people so adamantly against the idea that the world is experiencing drastic climate change? I don't understand.

Because they're not stupid, really. Because be real --- what would it take, to really, truly fix this, to change the trajectory? We all know. They do too. And when they hear climate change they know's what's underneath:
Abandon your cars. Pack your things. Come back to the dirty, smelly, dangerous city that your grandparents worked their asses of to leave behind, and squeeze in. Get your ass on a bicycle, fatty. Start sorting the recyclables. You know how they do it in Japan? There's twenty different bins and if you put your shit in the wrong one the neighbors watch you and rat you out. You'll be doing that, too, from now on. Forget the freedom to go where you want when you want. Forget having your own little castle, with a great room and a 60 inch TV for a fireplace and a couple of big mutts and a rolling green lawn. That little piece of paradise is lost to you forever, now. Because We Say.
That's why. That's the version of the American Dream we've had since the frontier closed --- instead of a homestead on 40 acres, a little Levittown lawn of your own, and a big Suburban to roam the MiracleGrow savannah. And that's what would have to die. We can produce electricity other ways. But liquid fuel means hydrocarbons. It requires a rejection of optimism and an acceptance of collective control --- so many committees! So many targets! So many protocols! ----- that many would argue is foreign to the American character. The oil companies have their hand in too, of course. But to truly adress climate change would require fundamental changes in society that many people don't want because they don't accord with their vision of the good life, with their aspirations for themselves and their children.

"But Science says----" Pssssh. The 60s were fifty years ago and nobody trusts no Big Daddies anymore, even if they do wear lab coats. And so yeah, they're gonna kick and scratch and bite and reject until they can't, quite possibly until it's too late.
posted by Diablevert at 4:32 PM on November 20, 2012 [27 favorites]


Here's the Kevin Anderson presentation, with the powerpoint slides.
posted by markkraft at 4:35 PM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


KokuRyu: I don't know. In provinces with manufacturing and tourism economies a collapse in the oil sands would be welcome, particularly if it devalued the currency.
posted by Grimgrin at 4:42 PM on November 20, 2012


You will know the American government is serious about climate change when they completely eliminate the mortgage interest deduction in the tax code. So far I haven't seen a single serious politician advocate it.

There are plenty of other things that need to be done, sure, but I think this is a decent bellwether since it would be so easy to do yet politically unpopular.
posted by Justinian at 4:43 PM on November 20, 2012


Business warned to prepare for catastrophic impacts

Climate Change Report Outlines Perils for U.S. Military
posted by homunculus at 4:53 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Obama signals he's putting climate change on back burner
posted by homunculus at 4:55 PM on November 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


money ... money ... money

The model for forced Carbon trading is about money.

Overhead and profit-taking in the carbon offsets system eats up about 70 percent of what is spent on carbon offsets, according to a report from UK-based Carbon Retirement report. About 30 percent of the funds go into actual projects that reduce emissions, such as a wind farm in a developing nation, reports BBC.

Anyone want to explain why 30% needs to go to Investment Bankers?
posted by rough ashlar at 5:07 PM on November 20, 2012


astrobiophysican: "Got a car? Fly to Australia to see reefs before they disappear? On a computer? Chances are very very very high that you carry a disproportionate amount of the blame for climate change. Just Own it.

Moral high ground seems to be about a foot above sea level on this issue.
"
----------
I mean really, if you think taxes are too low, why don't you just voluntarily pay them! For goodness sakes, the Treasury Department has a donation page and everything!

Sorry - the whole "think globally act locally" garbage isn't enough this time.

There are certain issues that REQUIRE a whole society to act, and to pin the issue on individuals in a given society that perpetrates the problems on a societal level, somehow making it sound as if they're hypocrites if they have to engage in a system to survive is utterly disingenuous

The only way to satisfy those who make such arguments are to fucking eat insects and wear shoes made of twigs, anything that ends up using any of the beneficial effects of society are to be distrusted.

We've tried "think globally, act locally" for the past 40+ years, and it's not working. The market will do whatever it can to protect itself and will refuse to change until the last moment. Short term gains are more important than long term survivability.

Well, we are going to have to make it change, and it's not by being fortunate enough to have a good enough job to buy that nice expensive Prius. It's not by being fortunate enough to live in a city that just magically happens to have a good public transport system (I mean, surely those things just exist, and aren't a social construct that require a whole community to act).

Can individuals do something? Sure. And it might help a bit, but in the end, the problem is much more than small little local efforts can overcome.
--------
One of the biggest issues I see (and it's been brought up by leaders of "emerging economies", as well as Capitalist Leaders in "first world countries" (to them it's an excuse - a "moral high ground" they use as a club us; we who would demand attention to this problem).

The issue is this: Do we believe in fairness and justice? If so, is it not fair and just and right that impoverished nations have just as much a right to advance (whatever the fuck that means) as first world countries have? Then why would you, you dirty socialist, deprive them of that right. FREE TRADE! GLOBALISM! HALLEFUCKINLUJAH!
posted by symbioid at 5:10 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, the issue is this: I may believe in fairness and justice. And in fact I think we in the wealthy North could afford to help poorer countries develop without going through the same cycle of industrialization and consumerism that's brought us to our current state. But most of the really rabid shouting on the other side has been by people who think it's morally wrong to invest/send money to the 3rd world to promote low-carbon development. That's Socialism, my friend, and this whole thing is a HOAX engineered (wipes off spittle) by the UN to send money to their friends. Ie., we have a long way to go to find the political will to even start organizing to deal with this, never mind changing people's opportunities in the poorer parts of the world.

There was a thread earlier today about the effects of austerity vs. living with the national debt. This is going to make austerity look like your sweet aunty Debbie. More tea?
posted by sneebler at 5:42 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


> What we need is to restructure the economy entirely to move us onto a net zero emissions path.

That sounds so very much like "first star to the right, and then straight on 'til morning." Do you really think we ought to bet the farm on a path that has so vanishingly small a chance of being taken, and taken in time? Noting that "in time" would be like yesterday.
posted by jfuller at 6:11 PM on November 20, 2012


The aliens have invaded and they are us.
posted by swift at 6:21 PM on November 20, 2012


We put a man on the moon in less than a decade, so surely we can convert the entire economy from petroleum based to green tech in less than a lifetime, no?
posted by blue_beetle at 6:22 PM on November 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Australia's federal Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities recently preserved further "marine reserve estate, resulting in a total area of 3.1 million square kilometres of ocean being managed primarily for biodiversity conservation [pdf], fulfilling the Australian Government's part in the creation of the national system."

Here's the glossy pamphlet [pdf].

Despite some compensation, the fishing industry is not thrilled. Further, super trawlers have been banned from Australian waters for 2 years while authorities investigate the effects of vacuuming the seas of fish. Super trawler innovation is not the innovation required for sustainability. The fishing industry is having change thrust upon it.

Little by little ... change can be forced on industries by a government prepared to stick its neck out, change policies, and advertise positively.

In democracies, who knows what will stop affected industries pouring money into opposition's election coffers. Policies are reversible in a way climate change isn't.
posted by de at 6:27 PM on November 20, 2012


ryanshepard: Kevin Anderson, deputy director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research gave a talk at Bristol University on Nov. 6 in which he stated that a 4° increase, without an immediate and drastic reduction in emissions, is all but inevitable (and may actually be a low figure.)

jfuller: Somebody please remind Prof. Krugman and Prof. Reich that not only must we not do things calculated to return us to the high-growth path, we must do more to actively discourage that and achieve actual economic shrinkage.

Since climate change is just going to happen, since there's no way in hell any democratic government is going to pursue policies of long-term recession to stop it, what can realistically be done to mitigate the environmental effects? Transplantation of ecosystems/biomes to higher latitudes?
posted by cosmic.osmo at 6:32 PM on November 20, 2012


We put a man on the moon in less than a decade, so surely we can convert the entire economy from petroleum based to green tech in less than a lifetime, no?

You know, when you say it like that, I suddenly feel like I should damn well better be able to at least transition my car to electric and my house to solar in a decade. So thanks for that motivation, at least.
posted by davejay at 7:34 PM on November 20, 2012


I would like to be wrong about this, but I am pretty sure that we will only begin addressing this once the pain comes, and then it will only be solutions to cope with the irreparable damage that has already been done.

"The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior" and all that.
posted by moonbiter at 9:41 PM on November 20, 2012


Even if we had full electrical power only 70% of the time in the daytime and limited long distance travel by fossil fuel vehicles to public and commercial transport, we could still live recognizably modern lives (and even still have most modern conveniences for less frequent use). If we were just willing to commute locally in vehicles with top-speeds limited to 30 miles per hour or less (in economically practical battery powered cars, basically). We could make those sacrifices and go almost completely renewable in no time. But that would require us to accept not having everything on-demand, instantly the second the whim to have it crosses our minds. Therefore, we will burn the future down instead.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:42 PM on November 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


IEA World Energy Outlook 2012
Taking all new developments and policies into account, the world is still failing to put the global energy system onto a more sustainable path.

Energy demand and CO2 emissions rise ever higher in the New Policies Scenario. Global energy demand increases by over one‐third in the period to 2035. Energy‐related CO2 emissions rise from an estimated 31.2 Gt in 2011 to 37.0 Gt in 2035, pointing to a long‐term average temperature increase of 3.6 °C.

Electricity demand will continue to grow: in the New Policies Scenario, our central scenario, global demand for electricity grows over 70% to almost 32 000 TWh by 2035.

Energy subsidies are essential to the growth in renewable energy, especially in the power sector, as many renewables are still more expensive than conventional sources.

In the Efficient World Scenario, energy‐related CO2 emissions peak before 2020 and decline to 30.5 Gt in 2035, pointing to a long‐term average temperature increase of 3°C....We propose six categories of policy action, which, if widely implemented, can turn the Efficient World Scenario into reality.
previously: Extreme climate predictions the most accurate
posted by Golden Eternity at 10:03 PM on November 20, 2012


I guess we'll take a rain check on freedom for a few generations. It'll just be a little age of global totalitarianism, just until the weather clears. That won't take long, will it? Eh, well, take your time, it is not as if any other solutions have been raised.
posted by TwelveTwo at 10:36 PM on November 20, 2012


> It'll just be a little age of global totalitarianism, just until the weather clears.

Don't know about global totalitarianism (god I laughed), but certainly changes in how things are done internationally. While car manufacturing gets done in China (benefiting from current cheap labour costs), the Chinese company Zhongfu yesterday won a bid to irrigate and develop 13,400 hectares of the top end of Western Australia.

The Chinese Ord-East Kimberley Expansion Project will see pastoral land transformed into irrigated farmland.

They have an innovative plan to convert sugar cane crops into ethanol for car fuel, competing with Brazil using Australian turf. Irrigation comes first, of course, then crops.

Bonus: apparently sugar cane crops have a cooling effect, locally.

There are plans afoot to extend the development across into Northern Territory as soon as the government works out how to dupe Native Title arrangements.
posted by de at 1:45 AM on November 21, 2012


PS: I can see Australia's indigenous people being the only survivors of climate change and wondering if their last 200 odd years weren't just a bad dreamtime. The meek inherit the earth, and all that ...
posted by de at 1:51 AM on November 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


I showed this (TED video is linked early in the article) talk to my students . . . It is sort of grim. http://grist.org/climate-change/climate-change-is-simple-we-do-something-or-were-screwed/
posted by exlotuseater at 3:47 AM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


If money is the impediment to taking responsibility for climate change, then money will probably be the impetus for action too. I wonder when insurance companies and Wall Street will sound the alarm.
posted by surplus at 5:58 AM on November 21, 2012


Obama signals he's putting climate change on back burner
posted by homunculus at 7:55 PM


That is seriously fucked.
posted by orme at 6:13 AM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


so surely we can convert the entire economy from petroleum based to green tech in less than a lifetime, no?

No.

The big US Ag tractors are over 800 HP. Lets just round 'em up to 1000HP

Lets also stipulate that 1 HP is 750 watts.

To run that tractor on the top end 750,000 watts.

How do farms get power? 220 VAC lines?

At 220 VAC you need' bout 3400 amps so that power into the tractor == power out.

Or another way of looking at it = 34 hours at 100 amp service to get 1 hour of tractor operation. At 200 amps = in less than a day the tractor could run for an hour.

Note how this case doesn't cite the energy storage for the tractor.

Lets take the other end of the 'plow to sword' POV - the US Military.

How exactly are the Jet fighters and tanks supposed to run off of stored electrical energy?
posted by rough ashlar at 6:13 AM on November 21, 2012


Petroleum is not bad. It is a moderately safe, fairly flexible and very high density energy storage medium with a hundred years of technology and infrastructure behind it.

Digging it out of the ground is bad.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:20 AM on November 21, 2012


Petroleum is not bad.

Quite right, but when you've got an industry who's entire business strategy is based on acquiring, selling, and burning much of the earth's current petroleum resources over the next 20 years, it's a real problem. "Because if we don't do it, somebody else will get their hands on those profits" seems to be their rationale. Plus they've got a large constituency of people in society who expect, based on the limitless economic growth over the last 70 years, to be able to continue their profligate lifestyle forever.

Not only that, but we're still subsidizing the hell out of some of the world's most profitable corporations: "The study estimated that subsidies to fossil-fuel based sources amounted to approximately $72 billion over this period and subsidies to renewable fuel sources totaled $29 billion."
posted by sneebler at 6:59 AM on November 21, 2012


Evernix:I just don't get it. Why are people so adamantly against the idea that the world is experiencing drastic climate change? I don't understand. You have all of these people, scientists - specifically climate scientists saying "Hey, this thing about climate is happening", and then you have a lot of people saying "Silly science man, you're wrong. See how cold it is outside? Hamburger."

this article by Naomi Klein really clarified things for me: Capitalism vs. the Climate
The deniers did not decide that climate change is a left-wing conspiracy by uncovering some covert socialist plot. They arrived at this analysis by taking a hard look at what it would take to lower global emissions as drastically and as rapidly as climate science demands. They have concluded that this can be done only by radically reordering our economic and political systems in ways antithetical to their “free market” belief system. As British blogger and Heartland regular James Delingpole has pointed out, “Modern environmentalism successfully advances many of the causes dear to the left: redistribution of wealth, higher taxes, greater government intervention, regulation.” Heartland’s Bast puts it even more bluntly: For the left, “Climate change is the perfect thing…. It’s the reason why we should do everything [the left] wanted to do anyway.”

Here’s my inconvenient truth: they aren’t wrong.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:10 AM on November 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Royalties are in the process of collapsing at the moment, and Canada's economy is going to be in a considerable amount of trouble in the next few years, especially Alberta.

That's OK; we'll just be able to squeeze extra money out of real estate, the value of which never goes down. Ever.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:03 AM on November 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


From the "grim" link: "...normal temperatures in Russia would be similar to those of its recent heat wave, which killed 55,000 people and caused massive property damage."

55,000 people? Is that a typo? Hyperbole? Fact?
posted by davidmsc at 10:24 AM on November 21, 2012


"55,000 people? Is that a typo? Hyperbole? Fact?"

Rather staggering, isn't it?
posted by Phyllis Harmonic at 11:28 AM on November 21, 2012


Chasing Ice: Documenting Climate Change in Pictures of Retreating Glaciers See the trailer.
posted by spock at 11:35 AM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse: Hurricane Sandy Rides In
posted by homunculus at 3:34 PM on November 21, 2012


The Sociopathic Way We Do Business
posted by homunculus at 7:43 PM on November 21, 2012


That sounds so very much like "first star to the right, and then straight on 'til morning." Do you really think we ought to bet the farm on a path that has so vanishingly small a chance of being taken, and taken in time? Noting that "in time" would be like yesterday.

As opposed to what?

All these people who whine about how we need to give up our cars and computers to stop global warming are just as bad as the deniers, imo. If you buy a tesla and a bunch of solar panels today, your life won't be worse, it will be better, and in a few years that stuff will have paid for itself.

That's true on a society wide scale as well. Even if global warming were fake it would still benefit the vast majority of people would be much better off with a switch to renewables (other then oil companies, of course)


Switching to renewables means a huge transfer of wealth from oil companies to solar panel makers, but it doesn't mean less wealth overall, it means more -- because after a few years the energy will be free.

Even if global warming were fake, it would still be in almost everyone's
posted by delmoi at 1:23 PM on November 22, 2012


Okay, my phone is being weird.

Anyway, I was going to add that whining about computers and electronics is by far the dumbest criticism. Computers have become far more efficient over the past few years, and a big screen LCD tv would be much more efficient then a CRT from the 90s. The big power draws in your home are probably AC and heating, plus major appliances, like driers and fridges. Computing stuff is minescule.

A solar panel and battery capable of running a laptop 24/7 would run you maybe $150-$250, adding some tablets and smart phones would barely increase that at all
posted by delmoi at 1:34 PM on November 22, 2012


Exactly delmoi. Of course we don't need to give up our cars and computers! We'll need technology more than ever--just smarter technology. Even if we didn't have higher-performance alternatives like the Tesla or Volt now, we've had perfectly serviceable electric alternatives for decades that could already serve us well for most uses, if we were willing to settle for getting around just a little slower most of the time (which, by the way, would have the added benefit of drastically reducing traffic fatality rates). I don't understand why we have to be so completely hostile to the idea of possibly having to exercise some self-restraint or moderation, though. During WWII people in the US went without basic goods and gladly accepted food rationing and much harsher indignities to support the war effort. Now even the mere suggestion that we might consider rationing our own personal energy consumption is met immediately with knee-jerk suggestions that totalitarianism must be right around the corner. It's ridiculous.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:10 PM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Obama under pressure to show Doha he is serious on climate change: The climate has been back on Obama's lips since his re-election, but the Doha conference will show if he is all talk
posted by homunculus at 9:44 AM on November 24, 2012


I don't understand why we have to be so completely hostile to the idea of possibly having to exercise some self-restraint or moderation, though.
First of all, you have to do the math - structural infrastructure changes like installing tons of solar energy, retrofitting insulation, switching to electric vehicles, etc would obviously do far more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions then people continuing to use fossil fuels "moderately".

The problem with telling people that they need to "sacrifice" is that it's completely counterproductive.. If you tell someone "you have to give up all your stuff, including your computer to save the earth" they're not going to want to believe you. And they're more likely to not believe the global warming part then believe it's real but maybe it's actually easy to fix.

Or even worse, they'll think any effort to solve global warming would mean doing those things and thus be primed to fight against any attempts to solve it.
Now even the mere suggestion that we might consider rationing our own personal energy consumption
But why would we need to ration energy when we get far more from the sun then we could ever use?

Retrofitting houses to stay warm in the winter rather then relying on heating oil or natural gas doesn't require any effort or sacrifice once it's done. You just sit there and enjoy the warmth, and in fact you never even need to worry about paying for heating again. It's actually an improvement in quality of life.


So what we should be telling people is that fixing global warming will mean they'll never have to pay for electricity, or gas for their car, or heating oil, or whatever ever again. Yes, the upfront costs will be high, but not impossible. $400 billion a year for 10 years could probably get most of it done. A lot of the funding for solar is now done as a loan - the solar is installed, and you make monthly payments to the solar company for a few years to pay for it. But the payments are less then what you would pay for that electricity from the power company.

If the government were to back those loans it could be done on a massive scale, quickly. And as a side benefit, it would help fix the economy at the same time. None of it would require any "sacrifice", other then higher taxes for a few years followed by much cheaper energy indefinitely.

So I don't understand why you would tell people they need to sacrifice and moderate and and so on if it isn't true.
posted by delmoi at 7:39 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seas rising 60% faster than projected, low areas threatened
posted by jeffburdges at 5:57 AM on November 28, 2012


Leaked draft U.K. Energy Bill a major blow to climate change progress
posted by jeffburdges at 6:23 AM on November 28, 2012


Chasing Ice: Documenting Climate Change in Pictures of Retreating Glaciers See the trailer.

Bill O'Reilly-watching climate-change-denier is moved to tears by polar melting documentary
posted by homunculus at 12:58 PM on November 29, 2012


Grim picture of polar ice-sheet loss (Nature)
posted by jeffburdges at 7:37 AM on November 30, 2012


We're Nowhere Near A Climate Change Solution
posted by homunculus at 12:57 PM on November 30, 2012


The next big U.N. climate report will not include the massive effects of permafrost melt
posted by homunculus at 1:43 AM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Avoiding The Nightmarish 4 Degree World Of 2060, We Must Act Now
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:25 AM on December 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


There is good information in that Avoiding The Nightmarish 4 Degree World Of 2060 link on the real consequences :
Temperatures are lower over the oceans (70% of global area), which absorb heat and carbon dioxide. Over land they are higher. So a 4 degrees C-extra world would actually imply the following:
- Up to 6 degrees C (10.8 degrees F) average increase over land;
- Up to 8 degrees C (14.4 degrees F) increase over China;
- Up to 10 degrees C (18 degrees F) increase over central Europe;
- Up to 12 degrees C (21.6 degrees F) increase over New York City
Also, they note that global emissions were increasing 2.7% per year during the 90s, but increased by 3.5% per year from 2000 to 2007, and by 5.6% per year from 2009 to 2010, so our emissions are actually accelerating.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:32 AM on December 7, 2012


Van Jones on Obama: Climate "Is Going To Be the Issue He’s Judged On”
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:49 AM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Actuarial tables suggest that, for me at least, avoiding the nightmarish 4 degree world of 2060 is a likely, if not even almost certain, scenario. And yet still I don't own a car, walk almost everywhere, and keep the thermostat set to 13C/18C in the winter.

Anyway, I'm already judging Obama on climate, and he's coming up short, as is basically everyone else.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:19 AM on December 11, 2012


Why Climate Deniers Have No Scientific Credibility - In One Pie Chart, James Lawrence Powell, DeSmogBlog, 15 November 2012
I searched the Web of Science for peer-reviewed scientific articles published between 1 January 1991 and 9 November 2012 that have the keyword phrases "global warming" or "global climate change." The search produced 13,950 articles. See methodology.

[…]

By my definition, 24 of the 13,950 articles, 0.17% or 1 in 581, clearly reject global warming or endorse a cause other than CO2 emissions for observed warming.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:50 AM on December 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


The World Bank's Hypocrisy On Climate Change
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:28 AM on December 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


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