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Innula Zenovka

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Scientists have welcomed the news - but say it does not guarantee dangerous climate change will be avoided.
They urged Mr Johnson to impose policies to back up his ambitions - currently the UK is slipping behind its existing targets.
Reading between the lines, everyone seems to be saying, "we'll believe it when we see it," but since this is presumably because Carrie Symonds, his partner, who is genuinely interested in environmental matters, has been bending his ear on the subject, maybe he'll have to try to deliver.
 
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Bartholomew Gallacher

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I'd say that probably the most effective thing any US citizen has ever done in recent years to avert environmental catastrophe, unless they're actually a decision maker, is contributing to Joe Biden's and Kamala Harris' victory in the elections last month, and the citizens of Georgia are in a position to do even more in January if they manage to flip the Senate so the US' rejoining the Paris Accords stands a chance of being ratified as a treaty, thus forcing the US actually to deliver on its commitments.
At the end of the day it doesn't matter: too less too late. The goals of the Paris treaty are anyway today known as too small, having not enough impact by a long shot. So even if the USA would go full Paris it doesn't matter much.

The problem is that we would not only need to reduce out carbon emissions by a long shot, but we are already in a state where it is necessary to suck CO2 out of the atmosphere on a global scale. And we would need enough room for a new, lasting carbon sink as well, the ocean comes to mind.

Capturing CO2 out of air with newest methods is around 92$/metric ton. Let's just say we want so suck out of the air 1 gigaton, which is 1/30 of a years emissions. This would mean already costs of 92 billion dollars for the sucking alone. Not included is the additional cost of building these direct air captioning plants and necessary power plants for them. There are estimates around that by end of this century there might be 30000 DAC plants operational and in place, sucking CO2 out of air, 1.000.000 tons per plant, to 30 gigatons/year. This would decrease the warming up to 0.8 °C, but also use 1/4 of the global generated electrical power. And it would take as much power as the USA, China, Japan and the EU needs combined every year.
 
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Innula Zenovka

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At the end of the day it doesn't matter: too less too late. The goals of the Paris treaty are anyway today known as too small, having not enough impact by a long shot. So even if the USA would go full Paris it doesn't matter much.

The problem is that we would not only need to reduce out carbon emissions by a long shot, but we are already in a state where it is necessary to suck CO2 out of the atmosphere on a global scale. And we would need enough room for a new, lasting carbon sink as well, the ocean comes to mind.

Capturing CO2 out of air with newest methods is around 92$/metric ton. Let's just say we want so suck out of the air 1 gigaton, which is 1/30 of a years emissions. This would mean already costs of 92 billion dollars for the sucking alone. Not included is the additional cost of building these direct air captioning plants and necessary power plants for them. There are estimates around that by end of this century there might be 30000 DAC plants operational and in place, sucking CO2 out of air, 1.000.000 tons per plant, to 30 gigatons/year. This would decrease the warming up to 0.8 °C, but also use 1/4 of the global generated electrical power. And it would take as much power as the USA, China, Japan and the EU needs combined every year.
So are you saying that, because we can't capture the existing CO2 that's already in the atmosphere, there's no point in bothering to try to reduce the amount we add to it each year since that's simply postponing the inevitable? Just carry on pumping the stuff out, and let nature take its course?
 

danielravennest

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Capturing CO2 out of air with newest methods is around 92$/metric ton.
Capturing CO2 with the oldest method (trees) has a negative price per ton. When you turn the trees into durable products you get more money than it cost to grow the trees. We should do that first, before more expensive approaches.
 

Bartholomew Gallacher

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So are you saying that, because we can't capture the existing CO2 that's already in the atmosphere, there's no point in bothering to try to reduce the amount we add to it each year since that's simply postponing the inevitable? Just carry on pumping the stuff out, and let nature take its course?
What I am saying is that Paris simply is not enough. The Paris climate goals have always been a low end compromise, and as far as we do know by now a bad one.

Also the new, yearly published emission gap report by the UNO is out. It clearly states that at the moment we are on the way of an average warming of 3 degrees Celsius on global scale. All countries would need to triple their efforts now to be able to reach the 2 degrees target, in order to still make it to 1.5 degrees the efforts would need to be multiplied by 5. This statement also includes the plans of the EU for 2050 and other states.

So Biden in the office and making some gestures will not save us, and probably he cannot do much more because of the seats in senate, and even with a democratic senate probably not.

danielravennest: planting trees? Nice idea and cute, but it will definitely not save us. It takes really some time before newly planted trees become heavy carbon sinks. Also due to the high CO2 concentration in the atmosphere plants are already extracting less carbon than they normally would do.

There's also been a study around which estimated the impact of forestation on a global scale. This study is still around here.


Sounds neat, doesn't it? We "just" need to plant 1.2 trillon trees and a decade of CO2 emissions gets sucked out of the air. Too bad only that this study has been ushered into pieces. To do so it would need a somewhat fertile area of the size of the USA. Also there are effects involved which clearly showed that the study was too optimistic and did not honor these, which means those forests would suck much less carbon out of the air as we would like to.

So to make it short: no, forestation could suck some CO2 out of the air, but it will not be enough by a long shot to save us because it happens too slow and too little.

The only thing which would be able to keep the warming in check is a radical cut and turn around on global scale, which I don't see coming because that's not the way most politicians do work.

Also 126 countries so far have announced to strengthen their efforts; if all these announcements become reality, which is a big if, global warming will come to a halt at 2.1 degrees Celsius. But that's a very big if, because if let's say 2024 Trump becomes president again who knows what he might do again. Or if Bolsonaro continues to axe the rain forest as he does right now. Or or or...
 
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Innula Zenovka

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What I am saying is that Paris simply is not enough. The Paris climate goals have always been a low end compromise, and as far as we do know by now a bad one.

Also the new, yearly published emission gap report by the UNO is out. It clearly states that at the moment we are on the way of an average warming of 3 degrees Celsius on global scale. All countries would need to triple their efforts now to be able to reach the 2 degrees target, in order to still make it to 1.5 degrees the efforts would need to be multiplied by 5. This statement also includes the plans of the EU for 2050 and other states.

So Biden in the office and making some gestures will not save us, and probably he cannot do much more because of the seats in senate, and even with a democratic senate probably not.

danielravennest: planting trees? Nice idea and cute, but it will definitely not save us. It takes really some time before newly planted trees become heavy carbon sinks. Also due to the high CO2 concentration in the atmosphere plants are already extracting less carbon than they normally would do.

There's also been a study around which estimated the impact of forestation on a global scale. This study is still around here.


Sounds neat, doesn't it? We "just" need to plant 1.2 trillon trees and a decade of CO2 emissions gets sucked out of the air. Too bad only that this study has been ushered into pieces. To do so it would need a somewhat fertile area of the size of the USA. Also there are effects involved which clearly showed that the study was too optimistic and did not honor these, which means those forests would suck much less carbon out of the air as we would like to.

So to make it short: no, forestation could suck some CO2 out of the air, but it will not be enough by a long shot to save us because it happens too slow and too little.

The only thing which would be able to keep the warming in check is a radical cut and turn around on global scale, which I don't see coming because that's not the way most politicians do work.

Also 126 countries so far have announced to strengthen their efforts; if all these announcements become reality, which is a big if, global warming will come to a halt at 2.1 degrees Celsius. But that's a very big if, because if let's say 2024 Trump becomes president again who knows what he might do again. Or if Bolsonaro continues to axe the rain forest as he does right now. Or or or...
I still don't understand your point about the US signing up to the Paris Accords.

Are you saying that, welcome though their rejoining the Paris Accords is, on its own, it's not sufficient, and they (and everyone) will have to do more, or are you saying that, because the Paris Accords are insufficient, they might as well not bother, since that's just Biden "making some gestures," and carry on as they have been doing?
 

Bartholomew Gallacher

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The Paris agreement has defined action corridors and goals in terms of reductions.

What I am saying is that

a) we do know by now that these original goals mentioned in the Paris agreement are by a long shot not enough to keep global warming at around 1.5 degrees Celsius
b) in order to keep warming at a somewhat manageable level all would have to do drastically more starting right now
c) that Biden joining this treaty again considering this above would be a meaningless gesture with no real effect, because he would need to do much more than that if he is really serious about it. And even if he is really serious quite probably senate would block him, also the parts of his own party who think right now that they need to appease the "right wing Democrats" and Biden made too much promises to the left during the campaign.

Also what many don't realise is that this Paris agreement is non-binding in terms of the mitigation target.
 
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Beebo Brink

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Are you saying that, welcome though their rejoining the Paris Accords is, on its own, it's not sufficient, and they (and everyone) will have to do more, or are you saying that, because the Paris Accords are insufficient, they might as well not bother, since that's just Biden "making some gestures," and carry on as they have been doing?
If a good gesture makes no substantive difference, what is the value of making it anyway?

That's not a rhetorical question. I've been mulling over answers to your scenario for days -- and it's certainly not the first time it's been asked on this forum -- and all I've ever come up with is "can't hurt, might help, so why not." Join the Paris Accords by all means, at least it signals good intentions.

The potential hurt is that we create the impression that we're actually doing enough when we're not, which means we're not making plans for the very predictable disasters ahead. But since climate change itself is still disputed by millions of people, even making the most logical contingency plans is probably off the table anyway. If we can't convince people to wear a mask here, today, to mitigate the risk of long-term injury or death this year, it's difficult to see how we can succeed in asking them to make substantial economic sacrifices because of damage that will manifest over the coming decades. The best we can do is encourage good practices now and slowly integrate them into our society; at the very least, we will build a better way of life for the present. The problem is not our solutions, it's the pace. We're moving in the right direction, but far too slowly to catch up.

We -- the current generations -- will never know whether these sincere, tepid efforts make any difference at all. No one alive today will see the ultimate results of the band-aids applied during our lifetime. The time spans of climate change are too long. We're are suffering the sins of our grandparents and will leave our sins to another generation.

In the absence of any certainty, I'd always vote to do something rather than nothing. Might as well.
 

Sid

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Capturing CO2 with the oldest method (trees) has a negative price per ton. When you turn the trees into durable products you get more money than it cost to grow the trees. We should do that first, before more expensive approaches.
 

danielravennest

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The potential hurt is that we create the impression that we're actually doing enough when we're not, which means we're not making plans for the very predictable disasters ahead.

We -- the current generations -- will never know whether these sincere, tepid efforts make any difference at all. No one alive today will see the ultimate results of the band-aids applied during our lifetime. The time spans of climate change are too long. We're are suffering the sins of our grandparents and will leave our sins to another generation.

In the absence of any certainty, I'd always vote to do something rather than nothing. Might as well.
A number of US states, cities, and companies have gone far beyond the Paris accord goals in pledging to be carbon neutral by a given date, or some other high goal.

On the energy production side, economics is driving the change, not any federal policy goal. For example, coal is down to 19.4% of US power for the last 12 months, where it was 30% before Trump took office and 50% in the mid-2000's. The Paris Accord was signed in 2015, and it and Trump had nothing to do with the decline of coal. It started a decade earlier, and continued right through his administration.
 

Beebo Brink

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A number of US states, cities, and companies have gone far beyond the Paris accord goals in pledging to be carbon neutral by a given date, or some other high goal.

On the energy production side, economics is driving the change, not any federal policy goal. For example, coal is down to 19.4% of US power for the last 12 months, where it was 30% before Trump took office and 50% in the mid-2000's. The Paris Accord was signed in 2015, and it and Trump had nothing to do with the decline of coal. It started a decade earlier, and continued right through his administration.
Meanwhile....

Emissions hit new record, put world on track for 3C warming - U.N. | Reuters
 
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Innula Zenovka

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What is really terrifying is why it is scaling up its weather modification programme. It is not just posturing (although that certainly plays into it), it is also desperation. The climate crisis isn’t around the corner – it is here. Water shortages now affect more than 3 billion people around the world. About 1.5 billion people are suffering severe water scarcity. The UN estimates that, by 2030, water scarcity will have displaced up to 700 million people. And if all those statistics don’t worry you, the fact that investors have started taking water scarcity seriously should: earlier this month, water futures began trading on Wall Street for the first time.