It's tragic that only the threat of a deadly disease could compel such a change, but perhaps we may find other levers to help us achieve such widespread beneficial changes in the future?
I am willing to bet that come 2022 or so, emissions will rebound and exceed peaks as people 'catch up' on travel, including simply visiting near and dear ones, that they have missed out on.
This is just evidence of what we already know: our current society is unsustainable.
> will be paid by generations to come
I think you're pretty optimistic about how the future will develop given that we have not only just demonstrated our society is unsustainable, but that we are not capable of making serious progress towards a sustainable society.
Large portions of are planet are soon to become uninhabitable by humans. Major disruptions in our food supply are likely not that far off. The idea that we need to get back to "business as usual" means these things are all the more certain.
We either accept reality and live and adapt to the limits imposed by nature or prepare to live in permanent war for resources.
Last I check most agreements were around 1 billion people. We’ve artificially bumped that up with an unsustainable energy source that we have no viable pathway for replacement.
It doesn’t matter if growth caps off soon, we’ve already exceeded the bounds. We’re in overtime now seeing how limited resources plays out.
Groundwater in many places is running out as well.
Which isn’t to say the same rules apply to humans, but it’s also critical to get this right.
I have a lot of questions about whether that's true of even rats: https://www.gwern.net/Questions#mouse-utopia
No awareness; No knowledge; No government; No communication; No money; No faith.
Wasteful consumerism is legal everywhere.
wiki: "An invasive species is a non-native species that has become naturalized and negatively alters its new environment."
Seems about right.
No predator. Also yes.
Multiplying exponentially. In the past century, yes. It seems to be slowing down, and so one might argue that it is a logistic growth.
If we exceed the limits of the environment we either suffer massive problems and eventually a die-off, or we manage to invent some new tech that expands the carrying capacity of Earth.
This is all pretty much factually correct. So, can someone explain the down votes?
Only in small islands cut off from humanity for eons will you find wild animals that feel no fear against humans.
- Negative environmental effect: check
We are an invasive species. Our species originated in Africa, then as we expanded we negatively affected our environment worldwide.
Make no mistake, almost every living thing that expanded its territory had a negative effect on that territory that was expanded into which will make every species "invasive" under your hair brained extreme technical definition.
Most humans can catch the drift of what I'm trying to convey though. I'll spell it out for you because you seem to be a savant... too intelligent to understand the obvious subtleties of normal human communication.
Invasive species only refer to a subset of species under temporal conditions meaning the current ecosystem which the species invades has not YET adapted to the invasion. If all animals have died/evolved and changed to accommodate for the situation the species is no longer invasive it is the status quo.
If what I said above isn't part of the definition then it makes every freaking thing on the face of the earth invasive. So it's unspoken but Obviously invasive refers to a temporal phenomenon.
Because your a savant too intelligent for mure mortals like me, let me give you an example why what I said above isn't included in the wikipedia definition. Think of the word 'thief.' If a child steals some candy from the store he is a thief. If the child grows up to be 50 years old and never steals anything again for the rest of his life typical humans no longer call him a thief. This means thief refers to a temporal phenomenon and most humans are able to recognize this even though webster's dictionary doesn't include it in the definition. We humans call this "obvious."
But someone like you who can't figure out what typical people find "obvious" must mean that your beyond human. A person of such extraordinary logic that subtleties of human language are irrelevant to you. That or your just making up logic to support some agenda, because it's utterly clear what I'm talking about.
Also throwaway usernames are against the rules in HN.
When you take a species out of its habitat and introduce it to another habitat, and they start cause harm to other species and their relationship to other species, we call them invasive species.
It is not that hard to understand. Humans are an animal species after all.
You brag about your soft skills, but are unable to explain a simple concept succintly and without aggression. That is prime evidence of poor soft skills.
Btw, name calling is also against the rules, and invoking the rules is against the rules.
I never bragged about my soft skills. I targeted you as someone who's using the extreme technicality of a definition to serve your agenda. It appears to be an intelligent maneuver but it is not.
>Btw, name calling is also against the rules, and invoking the rules is against the rules.
Name calling? You mean Savant? You know a savant is a genius right? It's a compliment..
>Most species on earth have a habitat, a well defined reproduction rate and population capacity, and relationship to other species. And when you take them out of their habitat, they may cause harm to other species and their relationship to other species.
Yeah and it's not that hard to understand that global human expansion already occurred millions of years ago. The harm as an "invasive" species was already done because ecosystems have already evolved features and qualities designed to fend off humans. My example of all wild animals basically having an instinctual "fear of humans" is evidence for this. Predators actively avoid hunting humans even though many hikers are vulnerable due 100% to this instinct.
The harm to the environment we're seeing today is not the result of "invasion" which already occurred eons ago, but the result of technological change.
Then, anatomically modern humans did not start expanding millions of years ago. And most species do not have an innate fear of humans.
Pretty much everything you said is a bunch of nonsense. I regret having read that. Clearly the educational system failed you. I do not have an agenda. Preserving the environment is not a political agenda (or at least, it should not be), it is an extension of our survival instinct. Just like food security is not treated as a politically charged topic because everyone can agree that they need food.
I focused on the perfect memory and calculator like abilities of the savant as a descriptive analogy for the level of intelligence you're displaying. It is indeed a compliment of untold proportions.
>Then, anatomically modern humans did not start expanding millions of years ago. And most species do not have an innate fear of humans.
No other species has been called "invasive" after millions of years have passed. Look it up. Most apex predators do have an innate fear of humans:
The animals that don't fear humans are located here:
>Preserving the environment is not a political agenda, it is an extension of our survival instinct. Just like food security is not treated as a politically charged topic because everyone can agree that they need food.
But talking about things that are clearly not true to serve your agenda is wrong. Humans are not invasive. We are destroying the environment through technological development not by being invasive.
>Pretty much everything you said is a bunch of nonsense. I regret having read that. Clearly the educational system failed you. I do not have an agenda.
I'm a environmental biologist by trade, aka scientist. All I did was point out your mistaken attribution to humans being "invasive."
Then, if you are truly a scientist then, please go and publish about how humans spread around earth millions of years ago, at a time where Homo sapiens sapiens didn't even exist yet. The only citations you will get will be from comedians.
When humans move into an area, other species lose their habitat. This happens every day. We are an invasive species, we disrupt ecosystems. If you want to feel better with yourself and believe in stupid fairy tales about how we humans are special, then go and create another concept for it. I don't care. In the end, what matters is understanding that we are ruining the environment everywhere we go, and causing the extinction of species everywhere we go.
Take a look at definition 1.
>If you want to feel better with yourself and believe in stupid fairy tales about how we humans are special
I'm not, I am correcting a technical mistake you made. We cannot be an invasive species because we already invaded practically every habitat eons ago. The term no longer applies.
There is an increasing amount of evidence for the MRH (multi-regional hypothesis) which contradicts the idea that "our species originated in Africa." That's not to say that thinking of anatomically modern humans as "an invasive" species is a useless frame, but I think it does weaken the footing your argument stands on.
Climate change has untold cost too, so what you’re saying doesn’t have much weight.
The foregone economic activity in just one year of lockdowns in the US is a significant fraction of cumulative worldwide damages anticipated from climate change through 2050.
I would love to see your calculations for this.
The climate impact is getting more severe at an exponential rate, and—unlike the pandemic—it is not gonna get better in the foreseeable future.
And no, climate change, even if we do nothing, won’t cause the economy to collapse by 2100: https://www.factcheck.org/2019/03/how-much-will-the-green-ne...
> “While it is true that we estimated damages as high as 10% of GDP annually at the end of the century for warming of 15°F above pre-industrial levels, the odds of a temperature change that would drive damages of this magnitude are slim,” he wrote. “In fact, they are less than 1-in-100 by our original calculation.”
It’s worth spending a lot of money to avoid a 10% GDP loss. But it’s not worth spending the kind of money you’d be willing to spend if you thought the economy was going to collapse completely otherwise.
We're on the path to a 4C world by something like 2100. An increase by that much might possibly wipe out the species. If it fall short of that forecast the damage will be far greater.
Not to mention that pandemic shares the same root cause as climate change. Destroying our ecosystem has increased the incident of zoonotic spillover. We'll see more pandemics as we continue on this path. And the costs of these are not separate from the costs of climate change.
That is absolutely not what scientists and economists are predicting. An RCP 8.5 scenario (which is considered on the worse side of what's likely in a "do nothing" world) is expected to knock 6.7-14.3% of US GDP by 2100: https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/2019102... (p. 7). That would be about half as bad as the COVID lockdowns (but permanent): https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/30/us-gdp-q2-2020-first-reading....
Note that's a 14.3% hit compared to what GDP would be in 2100. That's a big impact. It's equivalent to going from 3% annual GDP growth between then and now to 2.7% annual GDP growth.
Now, the numbers hide some really terrible costs. The Florida and Gulf coast will become uninhabitable, destroying half the economy in those areas. To put it into perspective the 2018 California wildfires cost 0.75% of GDP. So this is like 20 times worse. It's bad! But it's not an "untold cost." It's not an outcome worth spending any amount to avoid.
Scientists don't think mitigation will cost more than the damages from climate change, because scientists aren't proposing to mitigate climate change by shutting down the economy the way we did during the COIVD lockdown. That's an insanely inefficient way to achieve mitigation. I mentioned the economic loss from COVID lockdown not to suggest that is actually how we would reduce emissions, but to put into perspective what the expected costs of climate change are.
Saying that climate change will have "untold cost" is problematic because it makes you believe that mitigation strategies that will have massive costs will be justified to avoid climate change damages. It's worth the U.S. spending hundreds of billions of dollars a year on climate-change mitigation. The EU is planning on spending 260 billion euro annually by 2030. That's roughly the scale of Biden's plan.
But the "World War II-style" mobilization of the economy that Green New Deal advocates want will hurt economic growth by more than climate change will. If we go from 3% annual GDP growth to 2% annually we'll shoot ourselves in the foot.
None of the RCP scenarios consider potential positive feed back loops. This is understandable because from a climate modeling perspective these are complex and involve a lot of uncertainty/unknowns. However historical evidence suggests that in all mass extinction events involving rapid increase in atmospheric CO2 there is a point at which CO2 concentrations appear to start to dramatically increase due to some systemic trigger. We don’t know what exactly that may be, but many climate change concerns are happing “faster than expected”.
Events that cause positive feedback include things like increased CO2 emissions from wild fire, destruction of the amazon rainforest, increased albedo from melt arctic sea ice, methane release from melting permafrost, etc. We really don’t know how to account for all of these but past climate/co2 events suggest there is a “tipping point” for radical climate change.
It is also worth pointing out that climate change is only one of the ways in which our current system is completely unsustainable.
Our current economy demands perpetual growth. We are already living unsustainably. The consequences for this are obvious, and if we were remotely capable of surviving in a way remotely resembling our current standard of living we would have to immediately start scaling back production and consumption. The green new deal is a joke, and we clearly are incapable of changing our path.
As to the other point, the IPCC has studied the possibility of positive feedback loops and has concluded they’re unlikely.
I’m not aware of any existing technology capable that will mitigate the harm that the current trajectory of the climate disaster is projected to cause.
Hoping for new technology that can save us from the harm 30 year from now is naive. Thirty years ago we had quantum computers, microwaves, GMO, lithium-ion batteries, etc. VTVL rockets are a 25 year old technology already. Hoping for something that doesn’t exist already will save us is simply a disillusion.
In honesty “shutting down the economy” is still a better option then “business as usual”. Although, honestly, I thing there is a better option: Investing in green infrastructure, along with International agreements, and carbon taxes, which we could integrate into existing societal systems to at least slow down the harm until technology is available that can save us from this catastrophe.
Shutting down the economy is not better than business as usual. Business as usual is worse than cost-effective mitigations. Scientists estimate those could cost up to $1 trillion per year, worldwide, by 2030. That’s under 2% of GDP. Damage from climate change in an RCP 8.5 scenario will be many times that, 7-15% in the US by 2100. But it still won’t be nearly as bad as the COVID shutdowns, which wacked 30% off GDP while they were in effect.
> It's worth the U.S. spending hundreds of billions of dollars a year on climate-change mitigation. The EU is planning on spending 260 billion euro annually by 2030. That's roughly the scale of Biden's plan.
I’m not arguing against those investments. My point is that saying climate change will have “untold cost” suggests that massive economic shutdowns or “war time mobilization of the economy” will be worth it to avoid climate change. They won’t be. In particular, anything that jeopardizes economic growth through Green New Deal-style government takeover of vast sectors of the economy will cause more harm than it averts.
More information here: https://www.factcheck.org/2019/03/how-much-will-the-green-ne...
I can’t possibly see how reducing (in my opinion) stupid and corrupt business investments and increasing in sustainable infrastructure that will lower our carbon footprint can cause more harm then good. For me this fact is obvious. I think we there must be some fundamental difference between us for us to arrive at such different conclusions.
It advocates a “World War II” style mobilization, of the sort that existed back when the federal government took over almost half the entire economy.
I understand that’s not what you support, but people do support massive efforts like this to combat climate change. My point is simply that when you say climate change will have “untold cost” you make it impossible to understand why the programs you support might be worth it, while a World War II-style mobilization would do more harm than good.
I think the lockdowns could be revealed as a costly mistake and there is a great hubris among the well off in thinking that because they aren't struggling everything is fine.
But this is particular argument is unsustainable. A lockdown can have generations of consequences - what doesn't? - but it cannot be paid for by generations to come. It was paid for now, resources were reallocated and consumed.
The risk is more subtle. If a group of people develop who have nothing to lose, then they lose nothing by being very violent and destroying stuff. Physical destruction of assets is something that can cause long-term damage. The lockdowns take away options from people who don't have many.
There isn't a reason to think that the US taxpayer is going to pay back their debts (in real terms). The numbers have gotten large enough relative to GDP that they aren't realistically going to honour those promises.
It may get ugly, but that debt isn't going to last generations.
The biggest loser will be the (US) general public, because it holds the majority of the debt. Foreign adversaries (such as China) hold a much lower percentage of the debt (and USD-denominated instruments).
Seems unlikely. Nobody makes reference to poor behaviour by someone's father's father when deciding to lend.
And it is already embarrassingly obvious that the US isn't actually going to pay their debts back. The people taking on the loans at the moment have hopefully accounted for that.
Is all this debt bad? Yes. Will it affect the prospects of future generations? Only if it spirals into a war and something spills over into the physical world destructively.
A total shutdown of the entire world economy on an unprecedented scale still doesn't track enough to prevent climate change.
If that isn't a clear indicator of how severe the situation is then I don't know what else is.
I'm still optimistic. Just replacing coal with renewable power would put emission levels back to like the 1960s (maybe 1970s, trying to find that damn statistic), and that's likely to happen in the US in a few decades just by market forces.
A small segment of the economy got hit -- small retail. Outside of that, everything else is BOOMING.
The economy never came close to a “total shutdown.” In most places, the overwhelming majority of jobs were classified as essential—maybe 2/3rds—even while certain sectors did shut down. You can look at various stats, but a very simple one is the output gap, estimated to be 6%, which is potential GDP minus actual. This is a fair proxy for how shut down the economy was. The severe shutdowns were relatively brief.
Mostly, we massively changed the mix of activities we engage in, substituting relatively cleaner ones for more polluting ones. Maybe you purchased more manufactured goods and used more electricity, while driving less. A different conclusion from yours is that simple behavior changes—like more telework—can have significant impacts on emissions.
It proves that we can cut emissions without living a prehistoric lifestyle. And given that renewable energy sources are cheaper than polluting ones, this gives me reason to be optimistic.
We've shut down the most we could, essentially. Which means most things need to stay open and active.
What could we possibly do to make a bigger impact?
Where did that happen? US GDP is down a few percent, yet emissions plummeted far far further.
There's some additional work for things like replacing steam reformation with electrolysis or thermochemical hydrogen production. Decarbonization of air and sea transportation presents a bigger challenge but it's not unsolvable.
GDP has barely taken a hit the world over. Trade is virtually unchanged. Hell, some indicators went positive though the pandemic.
I don't really think there was a "shutdown". Passenger car miles might have gone down, but I suspect deliveries and cargo went way up.
The idea that you can gain anything from denying climate change and skip out on preventative measures is just wrong. The economics alone tell you that this is a losing play and I am not even talking about the impact on the climate, just the potential for economic growth that you end up denying by denying climate change.
But I've spent a good deal of time studying game theory and situations where the behavior of the whole is significantly dumber than the behavior of each individual actor, because the individual actors' interests are not aligned. I think global warming is going to be one of those. Sure, if we could come to a rational collective-action agreement, we could solve it. The history of collective-action as a solution is pretty dismal.
Some napkin math: the Sedan test was optimized to dig a big hole, was buried almost 200 meters deep, and moved about 11 million tons of earth, leaving a crater of 0.005 cubic kilometers. The 1815 eruption of Mount Tambura, which caused a 'year without summer', ejected 160-213 cubic kilometers of material into the stratosphere, something like 32 thousand times as much as the Sedan blast. I'm guessing each strike against a nuclear silo would probably create craters a fraction the size of Sedan.
> The fusion-fission blast had a yield equivalent to 104 kilotons of TNT (435 terajoules)
That is a quite small fusion-fission bomb. If your calculation is right, we are talking about some hundreds of more normal ones, not tens of thousands.
There are serious and legitimate concerns about albedo modification research which have nothing to do with politics. I don’t think that anyone in the field is concerned that this small-scale experiment will lead to global catastrophe, but it’s a stepping stone to something which could lead to those bad outcomes—and it’s not clear that a small test like this would be able to answer the most important questions that we’d need answered before actually embarking on a global albedo modification programme.
Of the various issues already covered by the Daily Mail story, one thing it doesn’t really talk about is that albedo modification requires a functioning human civilisation capable of injecting aerosols to the atmosphere to exist, without ever stopping, for thousands of years. A single disruption could cause up to 0.7°C of warming in one year.
About the only case in which something like this makes sense is if we’ve solved the emissions problem, but a bit too late, so only need a bridge for a few decades while we are actively pulling CO2 from the atmosphere.
If you want to learn more, away from the sensationalism of the Daily Mail, the podcast Brave New Planet had an episode about this last October, which is where most of my current knowledge comes from.
Changing weather and vegetation patterns is going to be a big event. We're going to see some previously fertile areas (Mesopotamia, Northern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa) suffer from decade-long droughts, while other previously uninhabitable areas (Canadian & Russian taiga and the Sahara, for example) become fertile grasslands. This will drive widespread migration, which has a tendency to destroy political stability and lead to mass wars. Nature isn't going to kill us; we're going to kill each other because some of us are going to starve and others are going to get fabulously wealthy.
It'll take a lot more than climate for those areas to become productive. Glaciers have scraped away most of the topsoil in the Canadian shield, for instance. The Sahara desert's sand isn't a great growing medium. And so on.
And yet in Israel people managed to employ advanced AgTech to grow food in areas with much worse soil than Berlin-Brandenburg & with less abundant water reserves (and they also did this back when Israel was a much poorer country than Germany). In fact aside from some grains import Israel is mostly self-sufficient in food production. Germany is not despite being less densely populated and having much better natural conditions for growing food, because it is more expensive than importing food.
If need be these areas can produce food if the climate is suitable, it will just not be as cheap as the food we can currently get elsewhere (but then again AgTech continues to advance and economies of scale kick in). Anecdotally as a consumer groceries in Israel cost about 2-3x as much as in Germany but both countries suffer a lot more from obesity than hunger.
Also as an unintended result of the above Israel is today a significant exporter of AgTech.
I think the costs of a changing climate are real, but I think the benefits are too often overlooked. For instance, most landmass on earth is not at the equator, but it's in the northern hemisphere. Much of it is uninhabitable at present but will become habitable as the climate changes. Canada, Sweden, Finland, and others will become more than 100km tall. A lot of Russia, and Northern Europe, as well as Mongolia and South America will become more habitable. Further, according to Lancet, very cold weather kills more people than very hot weather, so as winters become more mild and summers become hotter, the net effect will be fewer deaths.
I suspect we'll look back at 2020 as the year we generated the most waste from all that packaging that went into shipping products to individual homes.
I'll remind that there are airlines booking flights to literally nowhere: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/19/travel/airlines-pandemic-...
IF this is what it takes, then we will never get there. We need to do better. I don't know what better is, but it cannot mean travel restrictions and no ability to see friends.
There’s been plenty of fretting regarding slowing down the economy, and for good reason.
Some people blame COVID and some people blame the pre-existing conditions.
Is COVID to blame for the economic costs that you mention, or are the pre-existing conditions?
This diagram shows that "CARES Act" was very much not about "expanding existing welfare and unemployment benefits". 
Americans who haven't traveled have no concept of how a functioning polity cares for citizens during a pandemic. If our government doesn't care for us, why do we tolerate it?
I fail to grasp what you’re getting at here - what pre-existing conditions could possibly lead to millions of people losing their jobs because they’re employers were forbidden to do business?
Unless you’re suggesting that people should not own businesses or be employed by those who do...
Decentralization brings an obvious benefit - if power is consumed near generation, you need less infrastructure to distribute it, thereby lowering costs. Once we start adding large numbers of EVs charging at home, our energy consumption will tilt more and more towards the home, making generation and consumption on the spot much more efficient and useful.
Another benefit of decentralization is grid resilience. Removing single points of failure by distributing them means that large scale power outages (while already infrequent) would become less frequent.
There's the physical security aspect of this, which is as you say, hard to take down when it's decentralized. However, as power generation gets more distributed, we'll naturally start seeing more (if not most) of these pieces of equipment be controlled over networks (private or public), and securing distributed infrastructure from a software standpoint is still a hard problem.
Just look at the state of IoT security today. It's quite bad, and that's not even realistically including nation state attackers in the threat model. I don't expect this to go well with a decentralized grid, at least not for a while initially.
IoT is a raging tirefire. It's hard to even imagine how bad the security situation is.
The economies of scale seem to be much larger. For example, utility scale solar seems to be about half the unit cost compared to residential and commercial solar: https://www.nrel.gov/analysis/solar-installed-system-cost.ht...
It doesn't cause metals to become brittle. Its relatively stable. It doesn't require as low temperature or as high pressure to liquidize. It also stores ~50% more hydrogen per volume, as each ammonia has 3 hydrogen, unlike elemental hydrogen with just 2.
Yes the world deals with ammonia all the time. However we have special training for anyone who handles it. Even the most caution to the wind types wear full respirators and thick gloves when handling it.
When you buy ammonia at walmart what you get is 1% ammonia, 99% water. Then you are instructed to dilute it with more water 16:1, Even at that ratio it is nasty enough that those who use it have windows open.
Hydrogen is flammable when mixed with air between 4% and 75%, and it takes a minimum energy of 0.016 millijoules to ignite. Ammonia is flammable between 15% and 28% and takes 680 millijoules to ignite. It takes much more energy to ignite ammonia and there's a much narrower range of mixtures with air where it can support combustion.
It is also difficult to store, so I suspect the hydrogen ship has sailed.
- To be carbon-neutral, the hydrogen must come from splitting water. Currently hydrogen comes from steam reforming of methane (which releases lots of carbon).
- Hydrogen is a very pernicious molecule. It will slowly leak through metal and weaken it.
- Hydrogen vehicles must be refueled at special fueling stations. Electric vehicles can be charged anywhere there is electricity (such as at home).
- Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are more expensive than battery electric vehicles. Toyota sells the Mirai for $57,500 and loses money on each one.
- Storage and transportation of hydrogen is very difficult. It must either be stored in gaseous form at very high pressure, or in liquid form at 20 degrees above absolute zero. Current vehicles use high pressure tanks, which also require high pressure pumps. Many hydrogen stations can only provide 5,000psi pumps, which means you'll only get half a tank (and half of your expected range).
- Hydrogen is more flammable than gasoline (it will ignite in a much wider range of mixtures with oxygen). Unlike gasoline, the flame is invisible in daytime. Unlike gasoline, hydrogen is invisible and has no smell, making leaks undetectable without special equipment. If an odorant is added to the hydrogen, it will likely damage the fuel cell.
- Hydrogen is more expensive than gasoline and far more expensive than electricity. Even with subsidies, refilling a Toyota Mirai costs over $80. That gives you just over 300 miles of range. My Tesla Model 3 has the same range and a full charge costs me $6 at home. Supercharging is also cheaper, at around $25.
- Batteries got cheap faster than anyone predicted (except Tesla). In 2015, a study looked at past estimates of battery prices versus observed prices. They found that analysts were consistently pessimistic about cost reductions. Correcting for this, they noted that cost per kWh, "...could reach $200 by 2020." Actual cost in 2020 was $123.
Given all of these disadvantages, I don't see how hydrogen vehicles could be considered reasonable. The economics, physics, safety, and convenience simply don't work out.
There's not a lot of other great options today if we want to decarbonize those sectors because of the energy density required.
Look up different plane designs from the 1970s.
The only reason those designs never took off was because people wanted to trade efficiency for convenience.
I don't mean materially private, I know we're fishbowls on wheels, but culturally private, as in people often refer to it as such.
It's one of the only times most people are disconnected from internet/work-tech because there is substantial risk of life and limb if they engaged (I know people have made this work regardless, I'm talking about cultures, not outliers)
Also this human need for privacy, if that's the reason to commute, is coming at the cost of literally destroying the planet.
There has to be a healthier way to satisfy these baseline psychological needs. Climate collapsing death machines may be how humans have transported themselves for a while but it shouldn't be the main go-to for how they are alone with their thoughts
I'm being a bit facetious, but ultimately, this lack of privacy is all self-inflicted.
Someday we'll be saying that travel is only for the rich - everyone else will be forced to use VR, and they will be brainwashed to like it. As they say, American lifestyles are only sustainable for the 1%. The rest of us should eat bugs and live in pods.
As we move into cities, production becomes cheaper - which means we produce more, which means we can support more people, which means we need to increase efficiency even more.
I'm not sure that this is preferable to life without technology. Aren't family and small moments the things that make life worth living? Squeezing out a few more years of expected lifespan hardly seems worth the tradeoff to me.
Personally, I don't think this is sustainable.
Rural areas offer anonymity from the state.
Both are declining because the scope of government is getting bigger and their capabilities get better. In practice this means that your upstairs neighbor in a city who just doesn't like your hair (or whatever) can likely find a reason to narc on you and in the country your magic mushroom grow op that nobody local cared about will be harassed by the government who formerly didn't have the means to care about what people in the countryside violating laws without bothering people were up to.
If your neighbours don't like you, they are likely to bring the state in. To be able to be that anonymous, you would need to be a few days commuting away from all individuals and offgrid.
In cities, the neighbour might not like you, but they don't have the time or energy to care about it. You need a reasonably big and dense city for this though.
When I'm driving, there's nothing I can do otherwise, other than audio. Which means either podcasts or phone calls with family or friends.
I've found that any chore time is now also podcast time. So things like cleaning, laundry, or mowing the lawn I've always got one headphone in (the other ear is for listening for the kids)
* My student loan payments are frozen, I believe the total balance of student loans that are frozen is something like 85% country wide.
* People working remotely = low transit expenses.
* No live events = low entertainment expenses.
* Raging pandemic = low travel expenses.
* Investment = stock market has been very profitable since march. I made 100% last year just on random long term investment.
Basically, if you have a job that was exceeding the minimum threshold of living expenses, any of the extraneous things you were spending money on, other than eating out maybe, have evaporated.
Obviously there is a notable segment of the population that is not doing well, can barely if at all cover day to day expenses, and unemployment has gone up, but that segment isn't necessarily a majority.
That's all just speculation though, I'm not claiming parent is correct.
We even had a 20% bump in gross revenue while bringing our costs down, and that's after 2019 was flat for us (prior to that we were hitting 30%+ for a handful of years in a row).
Hmm. All this makes me wonder if the country opening back up is going to cause the market to flatten out for a bit as people have less money and incentive to invest. Food for thought.
I'm think the economy will liven up a fair bit once people are out and about spending again, possibly even over-correcting.
Keep in mind this is savings economy wide divided by personal income economy wide, so people with big numbers (high earners) disproportionately affect it.
Edit: this was not meant to disparage the poor. Quite the opposite. HN tends to have a blinkered worldview and part of that results from the filtered audience. Sorry, we just don't have people showing up here who got laid from serving bar, or single mothers with four kids, etc. Poor single mothers don't save money by skipping trips to Greece or not going out for Wagyu A5 twice a month...
The big problem is transportation. Ideally we'd have lots more muxed-use walkable neighborhoods than we have. Roughly 50% of people want to live in walkable neighborhoods, but centralized planning has virtually banned this type of low-carbon living over the past 75 years.
Second, beef is proportionally MUCH worse than all other foods: we can't afford to leave a full 1/25th of our emissions on the table.
Third, you're ignoring land use, land degradation, water use, and negative health effects of beef production and consumption. To look solely at "US emissions" in a narrowly defined way misses many of the harms of beef.
Fourth, cows are mammalian species who endure great suffering and misery so that your mere 3% of emissions can lead to a relatively smaller number of calories consumed. Is it worth it to cause suffering on a mass scale for the least healthy, most emitting food source?
When it comes to climate (the topic here), banning beef is being used by climate inactivists as a cultural wedge issue to stop climate action. Michael Mann, a vegan, has strong opinions on not harping about beef out if its true importance in the climate policy fight:
As for the non-climate concerns for beef, sure, but that's not the topic here.
I still think beef is a wasteful, unethical luxury, and every bite of beef comes via great cost to the millions of species going extinct and the future devastation of coastal and island peoples.
In my view, we need to place taxes on behaviors that are bad for society. Barring that impossibility, we need to develop meat alternatives, change hearts and diets, and also reform the beef industry towards sustainability. I think ideally, we'd always have cows, but in far, far lesser numbers.
Also if we keep saying, 'it's only 3% or 4%' and do nothing then we won't mitigate & repair at the scale we need to. We need to tackle it all.
The second half of this sentence is incorrect. Livestock is 14.5 of global greenhouse emissions, which a) determines climate change in the US, and b) is consumed in the US, in significant part, without being accounted for under "US emissions".
1. It's more expensive than standard cattle feed so it would need a subsidy to incentivize its use (probably a worthwhile investment for the Biden administration if they're serious about climate policy) and
2. there are some hurdles to massively scaling up the growth of the algae to supply the massive US cattle population.
Maybe a tax on cows but a rebate if they use this technology. But that seems like an easy system to game so maybe the direct subsidy is superior in this case.
You actually lost weight, but not in a healthy way, and as soon as you feel better you're going to gain it, plus some.
I won't say that the massive progress in alternative energy infrastructure buildout isn't blunting it as well, and the promise of EVs for alleviating transportation emissions, but the Mortgage Recession and the COVID recession have been the historically largest reductions emissions in recent history.
I have good faith that alt energy + EV will result in a massive improvement, but I wonder if it will be enough.
I guess what I'm saying is ... financial deck chair rearrangers, let's cook us up a steady diet of structural financial malfeasance.
Hard to attribute with confidence since it's a global figure based on pooled local measurements, but so long as you agree that human-caused release of co2 contributes to increasing atmospheric co2 levels, the reduction is a safe assumption.
The depressing part is the reduction needs to be 10x greater, and permanent, and global, for atmospheric co2 to halt it's increase and start dropping.
Climate change wont directly lead to death, we'll have to adapt, but there are models showing more food produced from climate change. Simply put, we don't know what potentially will happen. We highly suspect there are 150 thousand increase in death from disease due to climate change
In contrast... there are 135 - 270 MILLION people on the verge of starvation now; due to the policies around covid (or >2% of the worlds population).
> “marching towards starvation” spiking from 135 million to 270 million as the pandemic unfolded. He stressed that 2021 will be catastrophic 
BTW these people are still getting covid too, lockdowns slowed the spread, didn't stop it. Most American's have already gotten the disease (estimates are that 10x the number of people have gotten it over the tests). Given 25 million have tested positive, by the prior estimates, that means a likely 250 million Americans have already gotten covid .
Considering there are 328 million Americans, that would mean 76% of Americans have had the disease, which I believe would be sufficient for herd immunity. Given what case counts look like, I find that extremely unlikely.
Like terrorism was in the 00’s, this is proving very useful for those who want to expand their power via the state.
These 2 statements seem to contradict each other. If it's less spread than feared / reported, that would mean it's more deadly than reported.
When talking about case numbers, it’s (very) inflated by the large number of false positives in PCR tests.
When speaking of deaths, at least where I’m around (Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Germany) the reported numbers are people dead who also tested positive for covid-19. I suppose reported deaths work similarity elsewhere.
The claim about 2020 being the best year in decades for those who want to concentrate statist power I guess we can agree to be objectively true.
My understanding is that it is possible to get covid-19 multiple times. But lack of widespread testing is making it difficult to measure how prevalent this is.
There are also two known strains of covid.
There are a lot of unknowns at this point. We could be dealing with cyclical covid outbreaks for the next decade, the vaccine rollout this summer might eliminate it for good, or we could land somewhere between the two.
In all likelihood, yes we are nearing heard immunity and we're done with the illness.
Further, there's an issue with the PCR testing. Though there have been reports since August - October 2020, published in November 2020:
Basically, they started over amplifying the DNA and weren't controlling the PCR tests very well. Here's the original WHO warning in December 2020
(Since... the page has been deleted, but followed later)
With the official statement January 19, 2020:
There are no flu related illnesses: the 2020-21 winter flu season has not happened.
Here are the results for the last 12 months of WHO's influenza monitoring (you may have to pick a country). They are conducting global testing at or above normal levels:
If you look closely enough at the x-axis, you might be able to see how much flu there is.
What you're claiming doesn't pass any sniff test what-so-ever. Low tens of thousands of people die in a typical year from the flu (in the US). The US is seeing that many deaths from Covid every ten days now.
There's no evidence the US is close to herd immunity. Deaths just hit a new daily record high two days ago. Daily case numbers have been raging at present high levels for over six weeks with zero sign of stopping naturally. The vaccines are clearly the only thing that's going to slow it during this season.
Total global food production hasn't been an issue in hunger in the modern era, so boosting it is immaterial in this context.
Moving it out of existing populated places that are already marginal and have litle export industry to purchase imports with, OTOH, will be disastrous, even if Russia and Canada get a huge boost in arable land.
The numbers should be going way, way down already, as there are a good number of people who aren't exposing themselves to the virus hardly at all (My wife and I are two of them, but it has to be in the millions of people that are limiting their exposure).
Plus the US has vaccinated >17.5 million people, so subtract that from the population and that 250 million estimate, and there would only be 60 million more people who could catch it (assuming no reinfections).
The newest data I can find on this is from the CDC and they've estimated that through December 2020 that 83 million Americans have been infected (and I saw something dated November 27 where they estimated that 53 million had it, so 30 million new infections in December). To get to that 250 million estimate we would have had to have 167 million new infections in less than a month, or more than tripled all the infections we had up until now. That seems very unlikely.
Also their estimate is that 1 in 4.6 of Covid infections are being reported, not 1 in 10 like that Business Insider article (which is dated July 2020, looks like they revised the ratio since).
This looks like a misquote of: "Likewise, David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), warned of alarming global hunger and food insecurity, with the number of people “marching towards starvation” spiking from 135 million to 270 million as the pandemic unfolded." (from https://www.un.org/press/en/2020/ga12294.doc.htm)
[Not that it isn't bad, but it's a doubling of an existing problem from X to 2X, not a new problem of size X-2X]
looking at literally 'global warming' actual temperatures there are examples. 1000 dead in Japan in a summer.
WHO says 250k per year starting 2030 and that's only looking at heat, diarrhea, malnutrition.
Add in pollution deaths (already huge), refugees, war.
Climate change already directly leads to death and it will become more deadly
Don't forget that the EU (at the moment) has a higher overall per-capita mortality rate than the US, and it looks like wave 3 is waning in both geographies. Interestingly enough, morbidity figures are much higher in the US, but that could be a self-reporting/self-testing issue, or even false positive rate of the tests, etc.
For me, 0 - the reason I lockdown is out concern for others, I am not personally worried of the impact Covid would have on me.
I am approaching middle age myself, but I don't think it is fair to limit the lives of people in their teens and twenties for a virus, the median age of death of which is around 80. This policy of COVID restrictions is the biggest betrayal of our youth since May ’68.
You may actually be limiting lives more by not locking down.
My view is very coloured by living in New Zealand where aggressive lockdown has lead to normality (with limited international travel and mandatory managed isolation).
But the US doesn't have a higher IFR than most European countries. The difference in number of dead has to do with a. the population differences, b. differences in proportion infected.
The gaps between France and the US in per capita deaths, for instance, are not that huge.
I don't think this is a particularly realistic take.
I think more people die from diabetes and covid than climate.
The prefix 'climate change' is redundant, I wish the BBC could get back to being more objective.
Concepts around 'Climate Change' are very much secondary to that IMO, not the lead
Thermo-industrial consumer societies don’t need to change. Rather, as you said, we need a system change. We need to swap our current model for something else. The outcome should (and will) be different from a thermo-industrial society — it will be another society altogether. What sort exactly I don’t know yet. But « a systemic problem can only be approached by systemic solutions » seems like a reasonable assumption to make. :)
If we don’t do it ourselves, then the currently overstretched Earth system will just regulate itself, causing pain and suffering. COVID might just be an appetizer of what lies ahead if we don’t realize old ways (more technology, keep the economy growing at all costs, etc, ie things that demand more or too energy or impede resiliency) are very likely to fail the test.
I like how you mentioned the Club of Rome’s report because it was an early work that goes beyond the scope of IPCC (whose role is limited to climate change, which to be clear has a ton of merits in its own right) and presents the problem for what it is: a systemic problem that is riddled with feedback loops and that has deep ties with the roots of our society model as it developed over the 20th century.
I don’t like the idea of a systemic change. It’s uncomfortable, and at first it sounds ludicrous. But if we’re serious and dig into the topic with a critical eye towards our own mental models, that’s a conclusion we reach very soon.
Instead, I see downvotes and the parent comment received a straw man argument. I wouldn’t be surprised if I was being seen as an « integrist », except trust me — I’m not. Please, let’s discuss and not fight against one another. I know HN is much better suited to that than some other platforms. :)