WTF Climate Change News

Innula Zenovka

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Good to see my home town (city) in the news for, somewhat unusually, something laudable.


Actually, to be fair, while Nottingham has long had the reputation of being a cynical, corrupt and cheerfully amoral place, the city has had a pretty long and decent record of promoting public transport, at least in the centre (like since the early 70s).

After all, we're cynical, corrupt and cheerfully amoral socialists, at least at the level of city government, dammit.

 
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Innula Zenovka

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Innula Zenovka

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Speaking to the UK Africa Investment Summit held in London today, Boris Johnson said

A decade ago we were the one of the most carbon-heavy nations in Europe. Today we’re a world leader in offshore. We regularly generate more of our electricity from renewables than from fossil fuels. And we have almost entirely weaned ourselves off coal.

But there’s no point in the UK reducing the amount of coal we burn if we then trundle over to Africa and line our pockets by encouraging African states to use more of it.

We will breathe the same air, we live beneath the same sky, we all suffer when carbon emissions rise and the planet warms.

So from today the British government will no longer provide any new direct official development assistance [ie, overseas aid], investment, export, credit or trade promotion for thermal coal mining coal or coal power plants overseas.

To put it simply, not another penny of UK taxpayers money will be directly invested in digging up coal or burning it for electricity. And instead we are going to focus on supporting the transition to lower and zero carbon alternatives.
 
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Beebo Brink

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I'm still delving into the previous 5 mass extinction events and ocean acidification plays a role in several of them. The two articles linked below outline the broad details of what is happening now. A book I'm currently reading (The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert) has a chapter on the extinction of the ammonites -- which disappeared at the end of the Cretacious -- and research that points to ocean acidification as, at the very least, a contributing factor to its demise.

Looking into the causes and patterns of past mass extinctions provides insights into what we're going through now. Drawing a parallel to the ocean acidification that exterminated the ammonites, Kolbert follows a marine biologist who is tracking the impact of CO2 vents in the Aegean on the life forms in the vicinity. What they found is that at around pH 7.8, a wide variety of sea life "breaks" (while others are unaffected). The result is one of the markers of a mass extinction: loss of diversity. A few species do well enough (or even prosper), while many other species disappear from the fossil record forever. Unfortunately, many of the small aquatic creatures that do really badly are at the base of the ocean food chain.

As noted in the articles below, ocean pH levels are predicted to hit 7.8 by the end of the century.

'Completely Terrifying': Study Warns Carbon-Saturated Oceans Headed Toward Tipping Point That Could Unleash Mass Extinction Event

Climate change: Scientists seek to find the 'tipping point' of ocean acidification around NZ
 
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Ishina

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At the same time that Australia is experiencing a literal apocalypse, Trump is giving a speech boasting about how USA is the no.1 producer of oil and gas.

Inaction is enough to drift towards extinction. Rolling back progress is forward motion in the direction of extinction.
 

Beebo Brink

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Inaction is enough to drift towards extinction. Rolling back progress is forward motion in the direction of extinction.
Meh. Even though climate change is increasingly my primary focus (if not actual obsession), I just can't get that enraged by Trump's eager embrace of climate immolation. I doubt that anything Trump does or doesn't do makes much difference in the overall timeline of our headlong rush into oblivion.

No one in the political sphere is even talking about truly meaningful, significant actions. The most "radical" of them is just nibbling delicately at the edges. And no one is willing to discuss that we may be out of time already, long past the tipping points that can't be stopped, much less reversed. When it comes down to it, we're trapped by our bloated populations numbers, our daily needs, our financial systems, and our infrastructure. The only truly meaningful response to (possibly) averting catastrophic climate change would require immediate massive disruption and extreme hardship for billions of people.

That's not going to happen. At least not by political will. Few people would support what is really required.
 

Ashiri

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The most "radical" of them is just nibbling delicately at the edges.
Indeed, yesterday I learned that the company I work for is aiming to reduce it's carbon footprint by 50% by 2035 and be carbon neutral by 2050. WTF! I really want to bang some heads together.
 
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Ishina

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Meh. Even though climate change is increasingly my primary focus (if not actual obsession), I just can't get that enraged by Trump's eager embrace of climate immolation. I doubt that anything Trump does or doesn't do makes much difference in the overall timeline of our headlong rush into oblivion.
I can. His record on climate action is a list of attrocities as far as I'm concerned. Not only is he filling his pockets by pillaging our planet, but he's also silencing scientists and changing the legislative infrastructure so it will be harder for future administrations to undo the damage he has done.


This is broad reaching action with actual material consequence. It matters. If only half of what he has already done and what he has put into play gains any permanency, it will make a big difference to the timeline.
 

Beebo Brink

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Not only is he filling his pockets by pillaging our planet, but he's also silencing scientists and changing the legislative infrastructure so it will be harder for future administrations to undo the damage he has done.
Trump is a tool of the oil industry, but if Trump weren't around, they would be using another tool instead. Putin has been cultivating "useful idiots" for quite some time now; Trump is just the most recent investment to pay off. The oil industry's efforts to fight climate change policies started in the 1980s, when Trump was just a realtor, and has continued unabated ever since. Trump is a very new cog in a very big machine, and the machine grinds on with or without him. There's not that much difference between his damaging actions and the tepid positive actions that Clinton might have adopted in his stead.

If only half of what he has already done and what he has put into play gains any permanency, it will make a big difference to the timeline.
I suppose it partly depends on how you define a "big difference". A few years? A few decades? A century or two?

There are a lot of people who desperately want to believe that there really is a path forward, that the feedback mechanisms of climate change can be controlled if only we "act now". As it happens, I'm not one of them. Trump may grease the skids a little, but given our proximity to major tipping points (the ones we haven't crossed already), I don't think we have that much room left to play with anyway. Within a very short time (less than a century, possibly within a few decades, even quite possibly with the next decade) positive feedback loops are going to outstrip our contributions to greenhouse gases. We're very close to Game Over.
 
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Ishina

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I'm not willing to absolve Trump of agency. Just the same as I wouldn't absolve his hypothetical alternative if that person did the same. He's the most powerful man in the world, and he's using all of that power with calculated choices in harmful ways to benefit himself and to dismantle the safety measures that might stop others like him doing the same. Degree of responsibility is not mitigated even slightly by how bad the people he associates with are or how much he is able to be influenced by them. If anything, that makes him even more of a locus of blame and more of a danger.

I agree with you that we have zero chance of course correction. I just think people like Trump play a significant role in why that is the case. The machine doesn't exist. It's just some guys. It's Trumps all the way down.
 
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Beebo Brink

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Putin and his oil oligarchs, along with the Saudis, along with our own oil cartels, are the truly bad actors in this drama. I'm not "absolving" Trump, I just think he's playing a minor walk-on role in comparison to that line-up of true evil. The Bushes have done far more damage, they just aren't as obvious about it as Donnie.
 
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Beebo Brink

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The Sixth Extinction has a number of anthropogenic contributing causes, not just climate change, but I'm going to fold this topic in to the Climate Change thread rather than run two WE ARE DOOMED threads.

 
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