WTF Climate Change News

Brenda Archer

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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?
We’re twenty years out from enough acceptance of redistribution/ social democracy that the federal government could do something reasonable. We will be lucky to elect enough Dems to keep the tattered rag that is our safety net as it is.
 
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Brenda Archer

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Let's put this in perspective:

Sweden: 450,000 km²
U.S.: 9.834 million km²

Sweden: population of 10 million people
U.S. (all): population of 327.2 million people
U.S. rural areas: population of 52.3 million people

Sweden: 23 people/km²
U.S. average: 92.6 people/km²
U.S. rural areas: 2 people/km²

The average people/km² figure doesn't really tell the full story. 84% of the United States' inhabitants live in suburban and urban areas, but those cities occupy only 10 percent of the country. Rural areas (villages) occupy the remaining 90 percent. So the population density of rural areas is significantly lower -- roughly 2 people per km² -- and much more difficult to reach with basic services such as medical care, education and especially tech innovations such as the internet. Sometimes even phone service.

So our rural areas alone have more than 5 times the entire population of Sweden, at a fraction of the land density.
Thanks, this is exactly it. These numbers and dimensions.

Over the course of my more than half century I’ve been weaving back and forth between the two coasts and to some degree north to south. The emptiness of the rural regions is a tangible thing. But at the same time, if the US wasn’t an agricultural exporter, our balance of trade wouldn’t work.

During most of this last decade I was in Oregon and it’s a good example of the problem. The coastal, often high tech economy is the tax base and contrasts with extreme poverty in the remote and empty interior.

To move these rural people to the city, they’d pretty much have to be put in newly built housing and put on a dole. That’s not going to work.
 

Bartholomew Gallacher

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You got the wrong idea: nobody demands that the people living in rural areas should relocate somewhere more metropolitan. Nobody.

A CO2 emission tax is the most doable way to generate a change in behaviour, because otherwise people will just move on like usual. It needs to be felt first as a nudge into a certain direction, which increases over time. But when you suddenly do feel the impact on your wallet, people become aware of it and change their behaviour.

And it's not there to drive people out of rural areas or punish them for living there, but to drive a certain behaviour change.

For example, a little bit overexeggarated: do I really need a Hummer to drive on the streets of LA, or would not a smaller car also do the job for me? Are there possibilities to save energy in my home? And so on and on...

Just look at this statement for a carbon tax, which is backed by 27 nobel laureate economists and other high ranking people and shows how it can be done: https://www.econstatement.org

The tragic of history is that America had the pole position in driving that change during the oil crisis; when Ronald Reagan became president he shelved all of those efforts, just like that.
 
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Brenda Archer

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You got the wrong idea: nobody demands that the people living in rural areas should relocate somewhere more metropolitan. Nobody.

A CO2 emission tax is the most doable way to generate a change in behaviour, because otherwise people will just move on like usual. It needs to be felt first as a nudge into a certain direction, which increases over time. But when you suddenly do feel the impact on your wallet, people become aware of it and change their behaviour.

And it's not there to drive people out of rural areas or punish them for living there, but to drive a certain behaviour change.

For example, a little bit overexeggarated: do I really need a Hummer to drive on the streets of LA, or would not a smaller car also do the job for me? Are there possibilities to save energy in my home? And so on and on...

Just look at this statement for a carbon tax, which is backed by 27 nobel laureate economists and other high ranking people and shows how it can be done: https://www.econstatement.org

The tragic of history is that America had the pole position in driving that change during the oil crisis; when Ronald Reagan became president he shelved all of those efforts, just like that.
I’m not talking about rich people in Hummers, the 1% you seem to think we are. I’m talking about the bottom third who are already on the edge.

I’m talking about rural people who have to drive sixty miles to a job and a hundred miles to a supermarket (which was stocked by long haul trucks.) And who don’t have any behavior left to modify because they’re already out of food at the end of the month and wearing insulated clothes and a sweater inside in January.

Tax these people and you break their ability to survive. So - you *are* asking them to move, to a city and probably even another state, breaking their social support system as well.

I don’t understand why you’re clinging to a tax when subsidies would work and without the damage. The US is constantly criticized for doing nothing for the poor. Seriously, why are you clinging to a tax?
 
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Stop thinking about what politics should/could do. That's something for the next local, regional and national elections.
Each and every individual can do a lot already, without changing lifestyle completely.
It will not solve the worldwide problem, but it will change the mindset of each and every one that starts.

A starter list:
- check the air of your tires every time you fill up your car.
- recycle , reuse, repair where possible
- led lights everywhere and turn them off when you leave the room
- buy 'green' electricity when available and otherwise make sure your power supplier knows you badly want it.
- Set a mileage target for your car: next year 10% less than this year. And the year after that even 10% more.
- Buy local. Use Internet purchases only when not available within 10 miles.
- Wear a sweater and or a vest in winter and turn down the thermostat a bit lower in winter then you're used to.
- Does every room really need the same temperature all day long?
- Try to reduce your use of airplanes. Start simple: last years average = x. This year x-1, next year even one less.
- Spend your next vacation within 300 miles, it is beautiful out there.
- One or more dinners each week without meat really won't kill you.
- Talk with your friends about what you are doing, not about what they should do, they might get interested as well.

I bet each one of us can think of 10 things in our private lives that doesn't cost nothing but a little bit of effort to do it.

An old slogan over here was: A better world starts with yourself.
It is true in many fields.
 

Brenda Archer

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Stop thinking about what politics should/could do. That's something for the next local, regional and national elections.
Each and every individual can do a lot already, without changing lifestyle completely.
It will not solve the worldwide problem, but it will change the mindset of each and every one that starts.

A starter list:
- check the air of your tires every time you fill up your car.
- recycle , reuse, repair where possible
- led lights everywhere and turn them off when you leave the room
- buy 'green' electricity when available and otherwise make sure your power supplier knows you badly want it.
- Set a mileage target for your car: next year 10% less than this year. And the year after that even 10% more.
- Buy local. Use Internet purchases only when not available within 10 miles.
- Wear a sweater and or a vest in winter and turn down the thermostat a bit lower in winter then you're used to.
- Does every room really need the same temperature all day long?
- Try to reduce your use of airplanes. Start simple: last years average = x. This year x-1, next year even one less.
- Spend your next vacation within 300 miles, it is beautiful out there.
- One or more dinners each week without meat really won't kill you.
- Talk with your friends about what you are doing, not about what they should do, they might get interested as well.

I bet each one of us can think of 10 things in our private lives that doesn't cost nothing but a little bit of effort to do it.

An old slogan over here was: A better world starts with yourself.
It is true in many fields.
I just don't think this is enough.

I'm already doing the applicable things you list, not because of climate, but because I'm poor and need to budget carefully.

Seriously, who are all these people living high off the hog with no budget? Flying for pleasure every year? Driving around any more than they have to? No one I know!

The upper middle class is maybe 10 - 20 percent here. Everyone else is on a budget. The solution does need to be political because it requires infrastructure investment.
 

Beebo Brink

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I just don't think this is enough.
Of course it's not enough. Even if every American followed this list scrupulously, we'd make only a modest dent in overall carbon emissions. I can check off almost every item on that list already, except for "driving less" because (again) no mass transit in this area. These are good habits and I'm all for everyone doing their best.

My only concern is that people will believe that individual action is all that is needed to avert additional climate change and not fully realize that it's basically throwing a pail of water on a raging forest fire. More effective individual measures would be: have only one child, but you'll get a tremendous push back on that. Ask China. People want to feel like they're making a difference, up to a point. Making a real sacrifice -- such as severely limiting the number of their offspring -- is another ask entirely.

The most effective measures would be regulations on industries, not individuals. Oil & gas, construction, transportation. Currently, we don't have an administration willing to do that. Instead, Trump is rolling back regulations. Even if a Dem is elected in 2020, we'll just be playing catchup for years.
 

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Individual actions are only a beginning, not the solution. But it can spread to every single person. Most important it will change mindset from something in the distance, for factories, government, businesses, people with other jobs, living in other places, to right into your own household, street, neighborhood.
When mindset changes people will be more willing to do their part and will more likely accept unpleasant measures, rules and regulations from their government. I don't have to convince anyone in this thread that tough government interference is needed. But starting in your own life is a good starting point, because you and you alone are in charge.

Nobody has solar cells on their roofs in your neighborhood?
Why not being the first? Then don't try to talk others in to do similar. They most likely will only find you pedantic . People who are interested will come to you, then you talk about the benefits. Soon enough you see another roof filled in your street.
That is what is happening around me. At least 10% of the houses has solar panels and the number is still going up.

Don't wait for others to start. Just start.
Shell does nothing, so why should I personally start? That is only fooling your self, choosing the easy way by postponing your own efforts.
Only growling behind your PC and pointing to others like industries, businesses, governments or other countries is easy.


Oh and by the way.... Shell already has started with a transition. Not enough to save the world, but at least a beginning.
 
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Beebo Brink

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Nobody has solar cells on their roofs in your neighborhood?
Why not being the first? Then don't try to talk others in to do similar.
I feel like we live in different worlds, maybe even different dimensions.

Half of the people on my block are renting their living space from absentee slum landlords. Many of these tenants are addicts, all are poor, and it's all we can do to get the landlords to cut down weeds or throw out the very worst of their tenants (like the child molesters and drug dealers). Putting solar panels on their roof is not exactly a high priority. They'll get to that after they fix the rotting porch boards and replace the sagging gutters, so maybe sometime in 2057.

The rest of the block has mostly poor homeowners, people living on SSI or barely getting by as it is. Our next door neighbor periodically goes on the delinquent taxes list and it takes him awhile to scrape together money to pay those off. He's disabled and going in and out of the hospital, and each time he returns he has one less body part. We paid a contractor to fix his gutters because the water was flooding his basement and ours, and he couldn't afford to fix it. He hasn't even replaced the attic window that's been broken for over 5 years. So no, he's not going to be putting solar panels on his roof.

Of all the people on the block, I'm probably the only one who can afford solar panels if I'm willing to sink part of my retirement fund into a house that I may be leaving in a few years. Sale price of my house would never cover that cost because of the overall neighborhood quality; I'll be lucky to get back what I paid for it (which wasn't much). Despite that drawback, my wife and I actually explored the possibility of solar, but quickly found that we're the very first people to ever ask the city planner about getting permission for that change to the house, much less coordinate with the electric company. He had no clue whether it would even be allowed; West Virginia is a coal state and actively legislates against solar. We would have kept pushing only we couldn't find any solar installation firms that would travel out to where we live. The closest companies were in other states (because, again, West Virginia) and they were booked solid for years; they didn't need to travel to another state to get all the work they could handle.

The top 20% income earners in America -- who live in states less corrupted than mine -- can easily afford hybrid cars and solar panels. I hope we come up with ways to urge them to transition. But those people are less than 20% of the population. But there are many many more people who can't bleed any more than they're bleeding now. They can't install solar panels, they can't afford a hybrid car. The money simply isn't there.

America may be the richest country in the world, but the PEOPLE of America are not rich, only a small segment are harvesting that wealth. We're teetering on the edge of becoming a 3rd-world country, with crumbling infrastructure, widespread homelessness and people just barely getting by because the cost of living here is so high and the wages are so low.
 

Jopsy Pendragon

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Have you no children and grandchildren?
Me neither. My younger cynicism seemed extreme at the time, now it seems like it didn't go far enough.

Glad I deliberately stepped off the path to parenthood back then.

My sister has one child, but none of my cousins do. It's not so much of a family tree now, more of a vine.
 
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Jopsy Pendragon

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A starter list:
- check the air of your tires every time you fill up your car.
- recycle , reuse, repair where possible
- led lights everywhere and turn them off when you leave the room
- buy 'green' electricity when available and otherwise make sure your power supplier knows you badly want it.
- Set a mileage target for your car: next year 10% less than this year. And the year after that even 10% more.
- Buy local. Use Internet purchases only when not available within 10 miles.
- Wear a sweater and or a vest in winter and turn down the thermostat a bit lower in winter then you're used to.
- Does every room really need the same temperature all day long?
- Try to reduce your use of airplanes. Start simple: last years average = x. This year x-1, next year even one less.
- Spend your next vacation within 300 miles, it is beautiful out there.
- One or more dinners each week without meat really won't kill you.
- Talk with your friends about what you are doing, not about what they should do, they might get interested as well.

I bet each one of us can think of 10 things in our private lives that doesn't cost nothing but a little bit of effort to do it.

An old slogan over here was: A better world starts with yourself.
It is true in many fields.
* No car for 5 years now
* No furnace. (I have a heat pump, which gets lightly used in the winter).
* A/C only 1-2 weeks a year (or less. Didn't need it this year).
* I walk almost everywhere, including the farmer's market every week.
* No dairy, beef, pork or eggs. Small bit of fish/poultry every other or third day.
* Laundry only during non-prime energy hours
* All bulbs replaced with LED. Recycling is trivially easy in my community.
* Biggest impact of all: No kids.

The only non-green vice I have is that I'm on the computer or watching TV a lot.
 

Katheryne Helendale

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Stop thinking about what politics should/could do. That's something for the next local, regional and national elections.
Each and every individual can do a lot already, without changing lifestyle completely.
It will not solve the worldwide problem, but it will change the mindset of each and every one that starts.

A starter list:
- check the air of your tires every time you fill up your car.
- recycle , reuse, repair where possible
- led lights everywhere and turn them off when you leave the room
- buy 'green' electricity when available and otherwise make sure your power supplier knows you badly want it.
- Set a mileage target for your car: next year 10% less than this year. And the year after that even 10% more.
- Buy local. Use Internet purchases only when not available within 10 miles.
- Wear a sweater and or a vest in winter and turn down the thermostat a bit lower in winter then you're used to.
- Does every room really need the same temperature all day long?
- Try to reduce your use of airplanes. Start simple: last years average = x. This year x-1, next year even one less.
- Spend your next vacation within 300 miles, it is beautiful out there.
- One or more dinners each week without meat really won't kill you.
- Talk with your friends about what you are doing, not about what they should do, they might get interested as well.

I bet each one of us can think of 10 things in our private lives that doesn't cost nothing but a little bit of effort to do it.

An old slogan over here was: A better world starts with yourself.
It is true in many fields.
I'm pretty much doing all these things already. I have LED lighting everywhere. I pretty much stay local with the car because I can't afford to go out driving. I even use the bus when I can. I haven't been in an airplane in nearly 17 years. I haven't been on an actual vacation in years. We eat meat maybe 2-3 times a week (not counting the lunchmeat I use in my sandwiches at lunch). I have no say in where my electricity comes from, but I monitor our usage daily and keep our usage low. Maintaining separate temperatures for each room doesn't work so well when you have central air and heating. Really, I am doing pretty much all I can. Even my laptops are nearly ten years old. I could take Bartholomew's idea and start paying a carbon tax, but to do that, we'd have to start sacrificing things like meals and prescriptions.
 

Katheryne Helendale

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America may be the richest country in the world, but the PEOPLE of America are not rich, only a small segment are harvesting that wealth. We're teetering on the edge of becoming a 3rd-world country, with crumbling infrastructure, widespread homelessness and people just barely getting by because the cost of living here is so high and the wages are so low.
:qft:
 

danielravennest

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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.
The thing they could do is extend the tax credits on solar, wind, and electric cars. The credits already exist, so they are not an insurmountable political hurdle to extend. That will accelerate the transition to clean energy and transportation, two of the largest sectors for carbon emissions. And it doesn't hurt people's wallets, because it makes stuff cheaper, not more expensive.
 

danielravennest

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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.
The data on the ground don't seem to bear this out. Most of the US wind capacity is in red states (because that is where it is windy), especially Texas, which is an oil and gas state if there ever was one:

 

Bartholomew Gallacher

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Yes, they knew it since the 80s, the rest of the world since the 90s but didn't bother anyway - so it's hard to blame the fuel giants only for it.
 
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Yes, they knew it since the 80s, the rest of the world since the 90s but didn't bother anyway - so it's hard to blame the fuel giants only for it.
The fuel companies have had considerable resources, as have various governments and other interested parties, with which to help shape public discourse, surely?

The large fuel companies have pursued what they have seen as their, and their shareholders', economic interests. How else would anyone expect them to behave?