WTF Climate Change News

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While I see the problems, and I'm not unsympathetic to the plight of people living in these rural areas, is not reasonable to ask what sacrifices others should be expected to make so that they can sustain a lifestyle that's not economically viable? (I was going to use the phrase "enjoy a lifestyle" but, of course, many people in those areas are really struggling, so I doubt they're enjoying it much).

How about offering residents of those areas generous relocation packages, on the basis that, if they don't want to take them, they're on their own?
Hah, well. That would be a lot of people. Where will they be relocated to? Many of them have no skills. What are they going to do? Where they live is at least cheap. How are they going to pay for living in a place that costs 10 times as much or more?
 
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Innula I know you are British. You know maybe more than anyone here about the situation there. I have to tell you though your comment above has nothing to do with reality here. That is entirely impossible. You can't just relocate all of the rural people in bad situations which is many of them to where (?) I don't know.
 
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Beebo Brink

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Oh dear, where to even start....
While I see the problems, and I'm not unsympathetic to the plight of people living in these rural areas, is not reasonable to ask what sacrifices others should be expected to make so that they can sustain a lifestyle that's not economically viable? (I was going to use the phrase "enjoy a lifestyle" but, of course, many people in those areas are really struggling, so I doubt they're enjoying it much).

How about offering residents of those areas generous relocation packages, on the basis that, if they don't want to take them, they're on their own?
Our country is not known for "generous" packages of anything for rural areas. That's why we have such a problem now, and there's no sign that attitude will change any time soon.

In essence, relocation without any assistance is already in progress. Young people continue to migrate to the urban areas, leaving the rural areas with fewer and fewer people and an aging population. The young people who are left behind have either low education/skills, agricultural skills which don't qualify for anything beyond a Walmart greeter, are mired in addiction, or are taking care of family. The old people are quite literally crippled -- there's nothing like a lifetime of hard manual labor to bang up your body. (Incidentally, this is one the reasons opioid addiction is so high in rural areas, there are a lot of people in pain.)

Moving some 4 to 5 million people into urban areas -- away from the tenuous support systems of their family, church and neighbors -- is not going to improve anyone's situation. We'll just be swelling the ranks of the homeless and destitute because we already are facing severe housing shortages in just about every major city in the country. The housing shortage contributes to the reliance on cars and gas, because increasingly people have to commute long distances to reach their job, because it's not possible to live close to them. And we don't have reliable, comprehensive public transportation. In the not too distant future, we'll face even more migration pressure as people are forced to leave the coasts. And live where?

It's easy to say: We must do these things anyway. And eventually we probably will, when things are so bad that we have no other choice.
 

Innula Zenovka

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This is the problem.

Many aspects of the current US are clearly unsustainable, but as soon as someone points this out, the response is that it's clearly impossible to do anything about it (other, I assume, than to wait for things to collapse as predicted).

Has any consideration been given even to mitigating the problem, which is clearly multi-faceted and needs addressing locally, on a county-by-county basis with strong national financial support?

Or should we just accept that, whatever efforts other countries might make to reduce their carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions, it's impossible for the wealthiest, most powerful and technologically advanced country in the world to do much about theirs?
 

Innula Zenovka

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Oh dear, where to even start....

Our country is not known for "generous" packages of anything for rural areas. That's why we have such a problem now, and there's no sign that attitude will change any time soon.

In essence, relocation without any assistance is already in progress. Young people continue to migrate to the urban areas, leaving the rural areas with fewer and fewer people and an aging population. The young people who are left behind have either low education/skills, agricultural skills which don't qualify for anything beyond a Walmart greeter, are mired in addiction, or are taking care of family. The old people are quite literally crippled -- there's nothing like a lifetime of hard manual labor to bang up your body. (Incidentally, this is one the reasons opioid addiction is so high in rural areas, there are a lot of people in pain.)

Moving some 4 to 5 million people into urban areas -- away from the tenuous support systems of their family, church and neighbors -- is not going to improve anyone's situation. We'll just be swelling the ranks of the homeless and destitute because we already are facing severe housing shortages in just about every major city in the country. The housing shortage contributes to the reliance on cars and gas, because increasingly people have to commute long distances to reach their job, because it's not possible to live close to them. And we don't have reliable, comprehensive public transportation. In the not too distant future, we'll face even more migration pressure as people are forced to leave the coasts. And live where?

It's easy to say: We must do these things anyway. And eventually we probably will, when things are so bad that we have no other choice.
Possibly that's part of the plan anyway -- leave the rural areas alone and eventually the problem will solve itself through natural attrition. That's a horribly cold-hearted attitude, but it's the way some planners think, I know.

And, of course, it's historically how economic and ecological problems have solved themselves.

I'm not offering any suggestions or solutions, but it does seem to me that, while most other countries seem to be making efforts to mitigate the problem, yet another aspect of American exceptionalism is that the US simply can't.
 
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This is the problem.

Many aspects of the current US are clearly unsustainable, but as soon as someone points this out, the response is that it's clearly impossible to do anything about it (other, I assume, than to wait for things to collapse as predicted).
To be blunt, There are many things that can be done. Moving people isn't going to help anything. Vast swathes of the country are rural and poor. They need to be helped somehow.
 
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danielravennest

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Or should we just accept that, whatever efforts other countries might make to reduce their carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions, it's impossible for the wealthiest, most powerful and technologically advanced country in the world to do much about theirs?
The US *has* reduced it's carbon footprint somewhat, mostly due to the replacement of half our coal used for power with natural gas and renewables. We just aren't changing over very fast. Despite Tesla and other car companies selling electrics, they only account for 2% of new cars currently, and a tinier fraction of the total vehicle fleet. It will be 5-10 more years before electric cars are sufficiently low price that they take a big share of the market. Electric Power and Transportation are two of the major carbon sources.
 
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danielravennest

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To be blunt, There are many things that can be done. Moving people isn't going to help anything. Vast swathes of the country are rural and poor. They need to be helped somehow.
Fill up the rural areas with solar and wind farms, which will attract industry due to cheap power and cheap land. To some extent this is already happening. Lots of farmers are happy to get the lease payments for putting a wind turbine on their farm land. It is steady income, which farming is not. Urban areas simply don't have the space for massive energy farms. They have rooftops and parking lots you can put solar panels on, but those aren't large-scale installations.
 

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This is the problem.

Many aspects of the current US are clearly unsustainable, but as soon as someone points this out, the response is that it's clearly impossible to do anything about it (other, I assume, than to wait for things to collapse as predicted).

Has any consideration been given even to mitigating the problem, which is clearly multi-faceted and needs addressing locally, on a county-by-county basis with strong national financial support?

Or should we just accept that, whatever efforts other countries might make to reduce their carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions, it's impossible for the wealthiest, most powerful and technologically advanced country in the world to do much about theirs?
The problem is two-fold: One, the very fabric of the United States is woven this way. The people living in the rural areas of the country are serving a very important role: Feeding the country. If we were to move everyone to the cities, assuming the cities can even sustain such a population jump - which they can't - there'd be nobody to tend to the farms. Sure, we could bring agriculture to the cities, but we'd have to rebuild our cities from scratch to do that. (Of course, to sustain a society that isn't automobile-centric, we'd have to rebuild our cities from scratch anyways, so there's that).

The second is that most of the people living in rural areas won't want to leave. They like it there. It's what they know. It's all they know. Most of them have no skills that would translate well to city life.
 
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Soen Eber

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This is the problem.

Many aspects of the current US are clearly unsustainable, but as soon as someone points this out, the response is that it's clearly impossible to do anything about it (other, I assume, than to wait for things to collapse as predicted).

Has any consideration been given even to mitigating the problem, which is clearly multi-faceted and needs addressing locally, on a county-by-county basis with strong national financial support?

Or should we just accept that, whatever efforts other countries might make to reduce their carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions, it's impossible for the wealthiest, most powerful and technologically advanced country in the world to do much about theirs?
A good chunk of the political and wealth class considers people as disposable in the U.S., and by putting the squeeze on social programs and redirecting money they make it even harder to mitigate the effects of change as you propose.

It's a legacy of America's original sins - Slavery and Mercantilism, I'm afraid, and up until the Interstates and the Internet and the occasional world war, very much a condition of "the United States are" as opposed to "the United States is". Keep in mind as well that the geographical area of the U.K., France, Germany, etc could fit into 2, maybe 3 states with one fifth to one tenth your respective populations ... so we havn't had to "get used to living with each other" to the extant you have. People tend to move instead of figuring out how to make things work out between each other, or having to make radical changes to the local political structure.
 
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Jopsy Pendragon

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Or should we just accept that [...] it's impossible for the wealthiest, most powerful and technologically advanced country in the world to do much about theirs?
Too busy enabling the wealthy with unnecessary military spending and financial gimmickry to, you know, actually spare a few bucks for something that would protect the future of the country.
 

Beebo Brink

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Has any consideration been given even to mitigating the problem, which is clearly multi-faceted and needs addressing locally, on a county-by-county basis with strong national financial support?

Or should we just accept that, whatever efforts other countries might make to reduce their carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions, it's impossible for the wealthiest, most powerful and technologically advanced country in the world to do much about theirs?
Let's backtrack a little, because I think this discussion is getting a bit muddled and off track. First off, it's not the rural areas that are the worst contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, it's just that they're going to suffer the most from some of the supposed solutions. But this was Brenda's priority, and it's not really shared by anyone in power right now, especially not the GOP. So the impact of solutions on these areas is almost not worth talking about, since we're not taking any action at all.

This is the crux of the issue: The U.S. is not taking the lead on climate mitigation.

Why not? Because our federal government has been largely corrupted by the oil and gas industries, who do not want to scale back use of oil/gas. The GOP is up to its neck in collusion with Russia because of oil/gas money and Putin's obsession with keeping control of that resource. If you want the details of how that all comes together, Rachel Maddow's new book Blowout pretty much lays it all out.

Instead, state governments and even corporations are stepping in, unless they're oil & gas states, of course. It's an encouraging trend if you're not too bothered by the enormity of the problem and the lack of time left in which to make meaningful changes on a global scale. My skepticism is not about the effort being made -- go for it, says I -- just brace yourself because so far it's not likely to save us from climate disaster.

If the Dems get in power, we'll see how much public support there is for dealing with climate change. A lot of people are vaguely in favor of making it go away, but may find the details of how-to-do-this not quite as appealing.
 

Beebo Brink

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A few more notes on American dysfunction:

The rural areas of this country have a disproportionate influence on politics due to the structure of the electoral college and the Senate. Western states with small population get two senators, just like everyone else. Rural areas are deeply conservative and vote for the GOP, they vote for identity politics that are cultivated by the GOP, even though the GOP leaders don't return the favor with any more than token benefits.

This is one of the appeals of Trump -- he wasn't part of that GOP establishment that didn't deliver the goods. Of course, Trump hasn't improved their lives either, but he's validated their sense of identity, and that seems to be enough for at least 30% of the country.

Red states -- not surprisingly -- are often oil states. So the people most likely to suffer from the effects of climate change, are also the most likely to block efforts to mitigate climate change. Conservative mindset has a disproportionate power in these decisions that affect our entire country and the world.
 
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I'm on the 61 year old side. Unfortunately for younger people you are doomed.
 

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Have you no children and grandchildren?
 

Brenda Archer

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This type of argument is exactly what has always been used to delay any attempt in many countries since like... ever. And now since it becomes more and more visible day by day to where this path has lead as so far you still do insist that this is a good idea?

I am not asking to introduce a gas tax; what I was talking about is a carbon tax, which has a much wider area it affects: it should be charged on anything causing carbon emissions, so not only combustion engine vehicles, but also heating units in buildings, air planes, electrical power and so on and on in such a way that it makes people rethink their way of life and start to change it. It also needs to be applied to the industry as well.

This needs to be embedded using the right methods, yes. It also needs to be implemented in such a way that it won't hurt you from the start, but that you feel it from the beginning, with a clear progression path lead into the future so that you can plan about it.

Talking about rural regions: Sweden has an area of roughly 450.000 square kilometres and a population of est. 10 million people, or in average 23 people/km2. So this means that it has got tons of rural areas where people do live in.

It has also introduced such a tax in 1991 - and as far as I know it did not hurt their wealthiness, unemployment rates or GDP development. I am pretty convinced that America is able to repeat this Swedish model if it wants to.
If we tried it here we’d have mass unemployment in rural regions, already the most poverty stricken parts of the country. We have huge, really remote regions with no transit that will never have it, because 500 people living thirty or sixty minutes from the next village are not going to get a rail and probably not even a bus stop.

This place is remote, has severe climate extremes and a great deal of emptiness.

You keep misconstruing my argument as a call to do nothing. It is not. It is a call to use subsidies, instead of taxes, to solve the problem. We already subsidize the fossil fuel industries so it’s not as if no one has heard of this sort of thing before. We have shown we’re able to pour money and effort into long range goals like a space program. We can do something, but taxing the poor, who really are starting to go hungry already, is neither helpful nor effective.

You’re also confusing lack of democracy with lack of will. These are different things.

You also don’t appreciate that implementations will have to occur locally at the state level. Sweden has about the population of North Carolina and there are 50 states to do things locally their own way.

A tax on the poor does not work, and saying so is not a call for inaction.
 
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Brenda Archer

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While I see the problems, and I'm not unsympathetic to the plight of people living in these rural areas, is not reasonable to ask what sacrifices others should be expected to make so that they can sustain a lifestyle that's not economically viable? (I was going to use the phrase "enjoy a lifestyle" but, of course, many people in those areas are really struggling, so I doubt they're enjoying it much).

How about offering residents of those areas generous relocation packages, on the basis that, if they don't want to take them, they're on their own?
Where would they go? Urban rents and mortgages have shot through the roof. They’d be homeless. The job market can’t absorb them anyway.