WTF Climate Change News

Grandma Bates

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Some of the folks suffering from TMS (Toxic Masculinity Syndrome) are going to be quite upset when their munitions start getting cooked off. Seems some folks in the Middle East have found that munitions and propellants are not stable chemicals.


(Note: Not to be linked to the explosion in Daejon ROK yesterday....)
 

Innula Zenovka

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This article from The Guardian on the UAE's Shahjah Architecture Triennial raises some very important themes relevant to this thread, I think, and is well worth a look:

It’s not hard to see how the United Arab Emirates, of which Sharjah is the third largest city-state after Abu Dhabi and Dubai, is one of the highest emitters of carbon dioxide and consumers of water per capita in the world. It is a place where souped-up SUVs roar from man-made islands to malls with indoor ski slopes, where water is flushed by the gallon into ornamental gardens, where energy is guzzled with end-of-the-world glee, deaf to the pleas of Greta Thunberg. But before you start sneering, this petroleum-fuelled, water-hungry lifestyle is mostly the doing of British and American conglomerates, the result of an Anglo-centric idea of a city imposed on a desert climate that could never sustain it.

Post-colonial legacies, climate justice and water equity are just some of the testy topics that feature in the inaugural Sharjah Architecture Triennial, a three-month extravaganza of exhibitions and events that opened this week.
 
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Beebo Brink

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Today's doom-mongering report:

tl:dr summary:
Carbon emissions are set to rise until 2040 even if governments meet their existing environmental targets, the International Energy Agency warned, providing a stark reminder of the drastic changes needed to alleviate the world's climate crisis.

In its annual World Energy Outlook, released on Wednesday, the IEA said a rapid reduction in emissions would require "significantly more ambitious policy action" in favor of efficiency and clean energy technologies than what is currently planned. Until then, the impact of an expanding world economy and growing populations on energy demand would continue to outweigh the push into renewables and lower-carbon technologies.
Unfortunately, the framing of arguments for aggressive climate change mitigation aren't compelling. The sociopaths who run the oil & gas conglomerates of the world couldn't possibly care less about the world's poor. Statements like this just confirm the (mistaken) belief that safety from climate change can be bought.
Joeri Rogelj, a lecturer in climate change and the environment at Imperial College London's Grantham Institute, said even this scenario "leads the world down a dangerous climate action cul-de-sac, which ends in 2050 with a world warming beyond a level science considers compatible with sustainable development of poor and vulnerable populations."
 

danielravennest

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Today's doom-mongering report:
The IEA's predictions for solar energy are famously, hilariously wrong. I wouldn't take their report too seriously. The black line is what actually happened with PV (photovoltaic solar panels). The colored lines are each year's IEA predictions. I mean, they are not just wrong, but consistently wrong for 14 years, and about to be 15. A recent projection for this year is 129 GW, which would be slightly above the top of the graph, not a decline like the IEA projected last year.

 

Beebo Brink

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Greenland's Main Airport Will End Civilian Flights w/i 5 Years - Permafrost Loss Cracking Runway

Greenland's main airport is set to end civilian flights within five years due to climate change, as the melting of permafrost is cracking the runway.

Kangerlussuaq Airport, the country's main hub, had 11,000 planes landing or departing last year.

Permafrost, the layer of soil usually frozen solid, is shrinking as temperatures rise. For airport workers, ridding the runway of the snow and ice has become a constant struggle.

As a result, authorities will start building a new facility from scratch.
 

Beebo Brink

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What it takes to be carbon neutral — for a family, a city, a country
Amid mounting global concern about climate change, Denmark has turned into a buzzing hive of green experimentation, with efforts underway inside homes, across cities and on a national scale.

Copenhagen is trying to become the first carbon-neutral capital by 2025 -- a full 25 years before Washington and other major world cities expect they might have a shot at canceling their emissions.
 
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Brenda Archer

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It’s good, but it gives a sense of nibbling around the edges.

The people who aren’t being considered enough in urban design are the elderly, right when the population is aging and many people don’t have a young relative to help out. Many other disabled and older people still need to commute to work and cannot become shut ins. Making people take long walks and bike trips only helps if they can.

There really needs to be a push for more transit, and to make existing transit disability friendly. And I don’t know of any city that does that adequately. Certainly not where I live - I’m in town, but the nearest bus stop is .8 mi away. It might as well be on Mars.

The whole system needs to be redesigned by systems thinkers who have the *whole* population in mind.

Recycling is not enough, either. Supply chains rely on disposable packaging and that needs a redesign.

I’m just not seeing it with the idea that going green is an individual mandate, or can be accomplished with punitive taxes. We are embedded in systems which must be redesigned. I would *love* to stop buying old cars and get a tiny little electric car, or live in an apartment next to a train station, but I just don’t have enough money. Leaving disabled and elderly out of the greening is asking us to be shut ins - right when our numbers are growing and most policy makers expect more and more of us to stay in the workforce. But without accommodations in the system, how does that work? The whole built environment is impassable.

I just don’t feel like the system is being redesigned for the aging population that has to use it.
 

Beebo Brink

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It’s good, but it gives a sense of nibbling around the edges.
it's a wondeful initiative, but one that is very specific to small communities in a small country like Denmark. This won't scale for most the much larger U.S. metropolitan areas.
Leaving disabled and elderly out of the greening is asking us to be shut ins - right when our numbers are growing and most policy makers expect more and more of us to stay in the workforce. But without accommodations in the system, how does that work? The whole built environment is impassable.
There are going to be many casualties, especially among the poor, the old and the disabled. That's pretty much a given.
 
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Brenda Archer

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it's a wondeful initiative, but one that is very specific to small communities in a small country like Denmark. This won't scale for most the much larger U.S. metropolitan areas.

There are going to be many casualties, especially among the poor, the old and the disabled. That's pretty much a given.
I can’t really accept that. If we get social breakdown, then of course. But expecting wealthy countries to design in ways that leave out much of the necessary workforce is to expect them to be eugenicist and shortsighted. Shortsighted, because policies that create poverty don’t actually save money, they just shore up income inequality and lead to social disorder.

So design and policy really should proceed as if the rule of law is going to hold up. People don’t understand that no amount of personal fitness or wealth can save you if it doesn’t.
 

danielravennest

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There really needs to be a push for more transit, and to make existing transit disability friendly. And I don’t know of any city that does that adequately. Certainly not where I live - I’m in town, but the nearest bus stop is .8 mi away. It might as well be on Mars.
Peachtree City here in Atlanta has a multitude of golf carts and dedicated paths for them. They are lightweight and relatively easy to electrify. Most people drive themselves to the store and whatnot, but if you're not able to, you can get a driver to help you. Seems like a community cart service could help with the "last mile" problem.

Our regular transit buses kneel and have front racks for bikes or wheelchairs. There are also smaller buses (about 20 passengers) specifically to take disabled people to local shopping. You have to qualify to use them (low income/disabled I assume). I don't know the details, but I see them sometimes at the supermarket. So I think there are solutions out there, but cities need to be prodded into using them.
 

Beebo Brink

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I can’t really accept that. If we get social breakdown, then of course. But expecting wealthy countries to design in ways that leave out much of the necessary workforce is to expect them to be eugenicist and shortsighted. Shortsighted, because policies that create poverty don’t actually save money, they just shore up income inequality and lead to social disorder.

So design and policy really should proceed as if the rule of law is going to hold up. People don’t understand that no amount of personal fitness or wealth can save you if it doesn’t.
You keep saying that, as if common sense and logic have anything to do with it. Some communities -- like the one's that Daniel describes -- will make accommodations, but there's no single monolithic policy that will prevail across the country. The U.S. simply doesn't work that way. We're a patchwork of states and communities; some will get it right, but many will react to climate change in an ad hoc fashion and unfairness will ensue.

As for social breakdown, I'm convinced that's a matter of when, not if, but it's (most likely) far enough away in the future that I won't know one way or another. I'll go to my deathbed muttering dire predictions for the fate of the human race. What can I say, it's my hobby.
 

Brenda Archer

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You keep saying that, as if common sense and logic have anything to do with it. Some communities -- like the one's that Daniel describes -- will make accommodations, but there's no single monolithic policy that will prevail across the country. The U.S. simply doesn't work that way. We're a patchwork of states and communities; some will get it right, but many will react to climate change in an ad hoc fashion and unfairness will ensue.

As for social breakdown, I'm convinced that's a matter of when, not if, but it's (most likely) far enough away in the future that I won't know one way or another. I'll go to my deathbed muttering dire predictions for the fate of the human race. What can I say, it's my hobby.
I have lived in 11 different states in different regions and accept solutions will be local. But we’re online, so one community’s clever idea can be imitated by others. It is a design problem when dogma and not public surveys drive the identification of needs. It’s not even good for business.

While some places will be led by stupid, and all places are to a degree, I’m stuck being alive for some time, so I’ll keep trying to fight the stupidity.

The women in my family tend to get old - my grandmother passed away at 103 - but I have a cascade of health problems that started with surviving cancer, so I could go on like this for decades. This is new too - people being disabled who used to die. People are getting old, who didn’t use to. They can’t be wasted as either consumers, or, when possible, as workforce, but *so much* hangs on not treating accessibility as a burden instead of an opportunity.
 

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Peachtree City here in Atlanta has a multitude of golf carts and dedicated paths for them. They are lightweight and relatively easy to electrify. Most people drive themselves to the store and whatnot, but if you're not able to, you can get a driver to help you. Seems like a community cart service could help with the "last mile" problem.

Our regular transit buses kneel and have front racks for bikes or wheelchairs. There are also smaller buses (about 20 passengers) specifically to take disabled people to local shopping. You have to qualify to use them (low income/disabled I assume). I don't know the details, but I see them sometimes at the supermarket. So I think there are solutions out there, but cities need to be prodded into using them.
The golf carts idea is interesting. I’m not in a wheelchair, and if I was it would have to be powered, since my biggest mobility problem is heart/lungs, rather than my legs or back. Powered chairs and scooters are stupidly expensive and have to be qualified for, if you need insurance to pay for it.

So I bought an old car, a 2002. I can walk far enough to get from the middle of a large parking lot to the electric cart inside a grocery store. I probably don’t qualify for a power scoot for just this reason- I feel I’m expected to drive.

But what if I’d rather not? Apartments get more expensive the closer they are to transit. So that’s not gonna work. Cabs don’t show up. The disability bus would enable shopping, and that’s a help, but not commuting.

Since we can’t practically certify every granny aged person as disabled, what if we design as if everybody is old? (Enough of them will be.) Rent golf carts in stalls the way some places rent bikes. Build out a bus system that puts all the built up neighborhoods within a short walk to a stop. The tendency is to cut service, but the service has to be something that is a fact of life to get people to take it for granted. Train stations should always have working elevators, some of what’s needed is beyond obvious.

I could do a lot of what I need to do with a lightly powered tricycle. But they’re expensive! It doesn’t make sense that the little electric transports are all so freaking expensive, but going around town in a sedan capable of driving across the continent is the cheap way.

It’s not the market at work, it’s more the result of people trying to rig the system in their favor, so sad for trolley cars and walkable neighborhoods.

But I don’t need “a car.” I need to get somewhere at 25 mph, over a distance a healthy 20 year old could bike.
 

Innula Zenovka

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A co-founder of Extinction Rebellion has sparked anger in Germany after referring to the Holocaust as “just another fuckery in human history”.

Roger Hallam has been accused of downplaying the Nazis’ genocide of 6 million Jews by arguing in an interview that the significance of the Holocaust has been overplayed.

In the interview with the weekly Die Zeit, in which he referred to the Holocaust several times, Hallam said: “The fact of the matter is, millions of people have been killed in vicious circumstances on a regular basis throughout history.”

He listed other mass killings in the past 500 years, including the Belgians’ slaughter in the Congo. “They went to the Congo in the late 19th century and decimated it.” He said that seen in this context, the Holocaust was “almost a normal event … just another fuckery in human history.”
 
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Brenda Archer

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danielravennest

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Some communities -- like the one's that Daniel describes -- will make accommodations, but there's no single monolithic policy that will prevail across the country.
Peachtree City was an accident. It was founded in the 1950's as a golf community, so lots of people had golf carts already. Then somebody had the idea of putting in dedicated paths so they could get to the courses without mixing with auto traffic. The paths then spread so they are everywhere, and there are golf cart parking spots at lots of stores. Now that a lot of the original residents are retired and older, it has proved very useful for them if they don't want to get in traffic just to visit a friend or pick up a perscription.

But now other cities around here are picking up on the idea of non-automobile ways to get around. An example is the Atlanta Beltline, a ring of walkable trails being built around the city, which link up to other transportation. The original Peachtree golf cart paths are also used for walking and bikes.
 

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