WTF Climate Change News

Tigar

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Maybe I’m gonna move...

 
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Sid

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Can someone close the door of that damned freezer right now?
 
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Innula Zenovka

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This is serious stuff indeed. I don't know exactly what they are planning but an attempt to close down Heathrow for 10 days (rather as we saw at Gatwick just before Christmas) by flying drones around to prevent aircraft from approaching or leaving looks to me horribly like terrorism, as defined by our Terrorism Act 2000, since they are trying to influence government by methods that endanger the lives of third parties and pose "a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public", and I cannot see how they can be allowed to shut down one of the world's busiest airports and the main European hub for transatlantic flights, no matter how justified or urgent the cause.

Their disrupting traffic in central London for several days a few weeks ago was highly annoying and disruptive, but the police seemed to me to keep their policing as low-level as possible, and the campaigners enjoyed considerable public support (though this may in part have been personal support for the remarkable young woman who inspired the protests, Greta Thunberg, who came over here to join them at the time).

I fear they are at grave risk of committing very serious offences that will inevitably lead to life-changing penalties, including very lengthy prison sentences, and losing a great deal of public support at the same time, and I do hope they reconsider.
 
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Beebo Brink

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There were several doomsday-leaning articles to choose from today:


My guess would be that the article above relates to the issue below...
There are a few scientists trying to measure the methane output of thawing permafrost. Initial findings are... worrisome.
 
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Innula Zenovka

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Interesting brief discussion here between two young men on different sides of the debate about whether to create a new coal mine in Cumbria, up in the North West of England:


Even though I disagree with him, I'm very aware that Kenny has a very valid point -- coal used to be a huge industry in my part of the world, and so I've seen the economic and social devastation that pit closures have caused to local communities, and I can really see why he's so excited at the idea of mining returning to the area.

My main reason for posting it was that I found it encouraging to see them discuss their differences in so friendly, constructive and mutually-respectful a fashion. I bet they disagree about Brexit, too!
 

danielravennest

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Even though I disagree with him, I'm very aware that Kenny has a very valid point -- coal used to be a huge industry in my part of the world, and so I've seen the economic and social devastation that pit closures have caused to local communities, and I can really see why he's so excited at the idea of mining returning to the area.
How does opening a coal mine make sense when Britain has just gone two weeks without burning any?

The weather cooperated by being sunny and windy, but this is a harbinger for the future of not needing coal for power.
 
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Innula Zenovka

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How does opening a coal mine make sense when Britain has just gone two weeks without burning any?

The weather cooperated by being sunny and windy, but this is a harbinger for the future of not needing coal for power.
I don't know the story.

I agree, it doesn't seem to make any sort of business sense, but the company concerned clearly think otherwise.

Some sort of special grade of coal needed for particular industrial processes somewhere? No idea, but it must have made sense to someone.

ETA: Some background (they want coaking coal, apparently, and to process it nearby, though for what ultimate purpose I have no idea) :

 
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Ashiri

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ETA: Some background (they want coaking coal, apparently, and to process it nearby, though for what ultimate purpose I have no idea) :
High grade coal for coking and then used in iron refining does make sense. I guess one day we'll get around to refining iron ore electrolytically but that day does not seem to be now.

I also noted Kenny mentioned Sellafield as the only other major employer. I assume that means the nuclear power plant.
 
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Bartholomew Gallacher

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This is serious stuff indeed. I don't know exactly what they are planning but an attempt to close down Heathrow for 10 days (rather as we saw at Gatwick just before Christmas) by flying drones around to prevent aircraft from approaching or leaving looks to me horribly like terrorism, as defined by our Terrorism Act 2000, since they are trying to influence government by methods that endanger the lives of third parties and pose "a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public", and I cannot see how they can be allowed to shut down one of the world's busiest airports and the main European hub for transatlantic flights, no matter how justified or urgent the cause.
I disagree; terror means acts of violence against civilians. The reason why those drones are there is probably not to crash land planes, but to keep them grounded, which hardly can be described as violence at all.

So while this clearly is an offense and nuisance, this is no terror by any means as long as nobody is direclty harmed.
 

Innula Zenovka

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I disagree; terror means acts of violence against civilians. The reason why those drones are there is probably not to crash land planes, but to keep them grounded, which hardly can be described as violence at all.

So while this clearly is an offense and nuisance, this is no terror by any means as long as nobody is direclty harmed.
The UK's Terrorism Act 2000, which is the relevant legislation here, says otherwise, I fear:

(1)In this Act “terrorism” means the use or threat of action where—

(a)the action falls within subsection (2),

(b)the use or threat is designed to influence the government or an international governmental organisation or to intimidate the public or a section of the public, and

(c)the use or threat is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause.

(2)Action falls within this subsection if it—

(a)involves serious violence against a person,

(b)involves serious damage to property,

(c)endangers a person’s life, other than that of the person committing the action,

(d)creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public, or

(e)is designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system.
That's what the protesters have to worry about, or had to (they seem to have seen sense and called it off)

It doesn't really matter how you or I might define terrorism -- the whole point of flying drones around the airport was to create a serious risk to the health and safety of the passengers, crew, and anyone working at, using or living or working near the airport, to the extent the airport would be forced to shut down during the protests, with the intention of influencing the government or an international governmental organisation to do something about climate change, and that seems to me fully to satisfy the Terrorism Act's definition of terrorism.

It doesn't matter whether anyone is hurt or not -- PIRA would generally phone in bomb warnings when it was conducting active bombing campaigns, thus giving the authorities time to evacuate the area and, generally, to make the bomb safe. The intention wasn't generally to cause death, injuries or destruction but to create disruption by using the serious threat of death and destruction, but the fact no one was hurt in a particular incident didn't make it any less an act of terrorism, unless maybe at the sentencing phase.
 
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Beebo Brink

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Cumbria is reopening a coal mine. The mine will create at least 500 well-paid jobs, but there is a large environmental impact.
I can't blame people for trying to meet the challenges of today and ignoring the challenges of the next decade, even of the next year. If you're hungry today, you worry about getting a job that pays today.

There is no question that a full-measure climate emergency response would be massively disruptive to our daily lives and that millions would suffer, if not even die. Eventually, given enough time and money, we might be able to backfill replacement technologies and realign infrastructure, although the finances would be a challenge since traditional economies would have tanked under the strain of an immediate stop to major industries. Ironically, democratic societies are probably the least likely to be able to act since there are no governance mechanisms for imposing painful, Draconian policies on their citizens. There would be immediate electoral backlash and we'd be back to business-as-usual by the next election cycle.

If you phase in these new approaches before, rather than after, a complete cessation of greenhouse gas emissions, the transition timeline stretches out too far. It takes decades to create new modes of transportation, heating, cooling; new methods of capturing carbon from the creation of construction materials; new everything that emits methane or CO2 when those emissions are woven into the fabric of our economies and societies around the world.

I haven't seen any persuasive evidence that we can reverse the damage that has already been done. Quite the converse, there are increasing signs that feedback mechanisms are accelerating and that our own greenhouse emissions levels may soon become a moot issue. Thawing permafrost has the potential to release amounts of methane that will dwarf human output. The ocean has acted like a heat sink for decades and the growing acidification is a wild card that affects some of the most basic elements of the food chain for the planet. Even if we hit zero emissions today, there's another 50-100 years or more of CO2/methane in the air to continue warming the oceans.

In the end, how do you persuade people to completely upend their lives now, on the promise that this may possibly help their grandchildren survive? It's a difficult argument to make even if everyone believed we were in mortal peril of perishing as a species, and most people simply can't accept that level of emergency.
 

danielravennest

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ETA: Some background (they want coking coal, apparently, and to process it nearby, though for what ultimate purpose I have no idea)
Ahh, this is something I know about, both as a student of the history of technology, and amateur blacksmith. "Coke" is nearly pure carbon, made from coal after other impurities have been driven off in closed furnaces. It is similar to how charcoal is nearly pure carbon after the other ingredients in wood have been driven off. The main use of coke has been in blast furnaces, where iron ore is reduced to iron. The coke is partly burned to produce carbon monoxide (CO), which then steals a second oxygen from iron oxide, leaving iron and carbon dioxide as the final products. The blast in a blast furnace is forcing large amounts of air into the furnace, to make it burn fast and hot. For the process to work, the coke and iron ore have to support their weight in the furnace, leaving air passages for the gases to circulate. This requires high quality coal as a starting product, variously known as anthracite, metallurgical coal, or coking coal. This has few impurities to start with, and is thus reasonably solid and strong after they've been driven off.

Although blast furnaces have been the predominant way to produce iron (followed by steel after a second step), the reduction of iron ore only requires heat and carbon monoxide or some other reducing gas. The ore doesn't care where it comes from. A process called "direct reduction" can use other sources than coal for the carbon monoxide. Also, in developed countries, about half of new steel comes from old scrap steel being recycled. So we need to make less new steel than newly developing countries which don't have much scrap yet.
 

Tigger

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This is serious stuff indeed. I don't know exactly what they are planning but an attempt to close down Heathrow for 10 days (rather as we saw at Gatwick just before Christmas) by flying drones around to prevent aircraft from approaching or leaving looks to me horribly like terrorism, as defined by our Terrorism Act 2000, since they are trying to influence government by methods that endanger the lives of third parties and pose "a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public", and I cannot see how they can be allowed to shut down one of the world's busiest airports and the main European hub for transatlantic flights, no matter how justified or urgent the cause.

Their disrupting traffic in central London for several days a few weeks ago was highly annoying and disruptive, but the police seemed to me to keep their policing as low-level as possible, and the campaigners enjoyed considerable public support (though this may in part have been personal support for the remarkable young woman who inspired the protests, Greta Thunberg, who came over here to join them at the time).

I fear they are at grave risk of committing very serious offences that will inevitably lead to life-changing penalties, including very lengthy prison sentences, and losing a great deal of public support at the same time, and I do hope they reconsider.
Yes, reconsider. In about 80 years time when the last human dies we want that last person to be able to bake to death secure in the knowledge that their grandparents didn't break any laws.