WTF Climate Change News

Beebo Brink

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2. PHASE OUT FOSSIL FUEL SUBSIDIES

Meanwhile in Australia...
And yet, incredibly, the response of Australia’s leaders to this unprecedented national crisis has been not to defend their country but to defend the fossil fuel industry, a big donor to both major parties — as if they were willing the country to its doom. While the fires were exploding in mid-December, the leader of the opposition Labor Party went on a tour of coal mining communities expressing his unequivocal support for coal exports.
So good luck with that "vote for the party that supports renewable policies" as a solution.

 

Bartholomew Gallacher

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Meanwhile in Australia...


So good luck with that "vote for the party that supports renewable policies" as a solution.

Coal makes about 19% of Australia's exports, or roughly 47 billion US$. One of the biggest customers for it is China. Half of the exports are minerals.

So when talking about getting rid of coal mining this means something else must be found to keep the people in jobs. And mining jobs are normally unusually highly paid jobs in Australia, because most of the mines are literally in the middle of nowhere. So it is not so hard to see why this government tends to stuck with coal mining, because finding those alternatives is not easy to do.
 

Beebo Brink

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So it is not so hard to see why this government tends to stuck with coal mining, because finding those alternatives is not easy to do.
Multiply this reality across the globe, but not just for coal. This is true for oil-based resources too, to an even great degree because of the tens of millions of products that depend on plastics, not just energy. Stepping off the petroleum treadmill means immediate economic disruption for billions of people.
 
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OrinB

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finding those alternatives is not easy to do.
No one has ever suggested making climate change a thing of the past and changing our economies, practises and attitudes will ever be easy! However admitting there is a problem seems to have actually been the hardest thing to do so far.
 

Innula Zenovka

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I know full well the huge social cost of closing down the coal industry, since I've seen it, in the UK, in the parts of the country my family is from.

It's horrible.

However, as Australia demonstrates, there is an even greater social cost to carrying on as things are.
 

Bartholomew Gallacher

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Science is fun: already the old vikings feared a clinmate catastrophe, and warned on a rune stone about it. The Rök runestone actually is quite well known, but translating the runes is difficult, so just now it was discovered that this rune stone is not actually about murder, but it warns about fimbulwinter.

Before the Rök runestone was erected, a number of events occurred which must have seemed extremely ominous: a powerful solar storm coloured the sky in dramatic shades of red, crop yields suffered from an extremely cold summer, and later a solar eclipse occurred just after sunrise. Even one of these events would have been enough to raise fears of another Fimbulwinter.

Fimbulwinter is the prelude to Ragnarök btw.

 
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Bartholomew Gallacher

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News from the UK: Counter-terrorism police placed the non-violent group Extinction Rebellion (XR) on a list of extremist ideologies that should be reported to the authorities running the Prevent programme, which aims to catch those at risk of committing atrocities, the Guardian has learned.

The climate emergency campaign group was included in a 12-page guide produced by counter-terrorism police in the south-east titled Safeguarding young people and adults from ideological extremism, which is marked as “official”.

XR featured alongside threats to national security such as neo-Nazi terrorism and a pro-terrorist Islamist group. The guide, aimed at police officers, government organisations and teachers who by law have to report concerns about radicalisation, was dated last November.

After the Guardian enquired the document was withdrawn.


 

Ishina

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Morrison is in bed with coal mining ogilarchs and has purged pro-climate action voices from the government. He has continued to downplay the seriousness of the fires and spends more time posing for happy holiday photos than he does helping the people he is supposed to represent in their darkest hour. If he says anything about climate change, assume the opposite is true.
 

Beebo Brink

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Climate change denialists are as dumb as flat earthers. They are probably the same people.
I read through the comments, which was a useful reminder of how many people are scientifically illiterate and seem incapable of understanding the basic concepts of climate change. My favorites are the posters that smugly state "This is all cyclical. The earth has been hotter and colder since long before humans." They completely overlook the significance of "before humans" and the implied "after humans" that comes with it. Mass exterminations accompanied those swings from hot to cold and back again.

I'm currently reading The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and our Quest to Understand Earth's Past Mass Extinctions*. It's a stark look at the 5 major mass extinctions in the history of life. One prominent factor in several of those events was the oxygen-CO2 dynamic, that wiped out vast swaths of life forms when it got too far off-balance. Too little CO2 plunges earth into extreme ice ages; too much CO2 heats the planet and renders land masses uninhabitable. As the author points out, we play with this balance at our own peril.

Mass extinctions play out in geological times, which means over the course of thousands of years rather than decades. We could be dead-man-walking already and not even know it.

* I highly recommend this book. It's quite readable and manages to delve into complex topics without becoming dense. Somewhat like a very long Atlantic article, it mixes human interest and science in good measures.
 
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Beebo Brink

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I'm on a pedantic roll now, so bear with me (or not).

Meet Dunkleosteus, a large Placoderm (arthropod fish) that lived in the late Devonian period, about 380–360 million years ago. It grew to 10 metres (33 feet), and was the top predator of its time and one of the top predators of the Paleozoic era.

Placoderms were the most successful group of animals in the Devonian and permeated every niche of sea life from placid plankton eaters to this daunting armor-plated killer. All of them, every last species of Placoderm, were wiped out in the late Devonian extinction, not because they were deficient in some way but because climate conditions got so bad that almost everything died.

No matter how successful a species may be, at some point you roll snake-eyes on survival.