[Discussion] Climate Change

This thread is just to post interesting news, thoughts, opinions about climate change.

Actually, northern New England is likely to see an uptick in economics over the next century, due to the moderation of climate compared to today. Which is not going to help your case. (My brother's reaction, from outside Burlington VT, on a warm late winter stretch of days - "If this is global warming, bring it on!").

Robear wrote:

Actually, northern New England is likely to see an uptick in economics over the next century, due to the moderation of climate compared to today. Which is not going to help your case. (My brother's reaction, from outside Burlington VT, on a warm late winter stretch of days - "If this is global warming, bring it on!").

Say good-bye to your ski/snowboard tourism money and jobs. You weren't using them anyway.

They'll make more out of the increase in agriculture and population.

How many jobs (that a middle class white person is willing to do) is agriculture expected to provide?

Robear wrote:

(My brother's reaction, from outside Burlington VT, on a warm late winter stretch of days - "If this is global warming, bring it on!").

Ha! I'm actually in Massachusetts and I have to confess that I said something similar last winter. Terrible but true.

PiP wrote:

How many jobs (that a middle class white person is willing to do) is agriculture expected to provide?

Question is irrelevant. There will be no middle class people left by the time this is an issue.

d4mo wrote:

Ha! I'm actually in Massachusetts and I have to confess that I said something similar last winter. Terrible but true.

He said it after bemoaning the poor season for chaga, and the death of the birch cluster in his front yard, both of which are dependent on cold weather that was kind of lacking this year...

As a bit of an antidote to that last article:

The Guardian: Doomsday narratives about climate change don't work. But here's what does

When we constantly see stories about communities in crisis as sea levels rise and extreme storms become more frequent, we come away with preconceived notions that all communities living on the front lines of climate change are victims in need of saving. On America’s eroding edges, there is no hope – the future is presented as an ominously uncertain but seemingly inevitable defeat.

Feeling hopeless about a situation is cognitively associated with inaction and predicts decreased goal-directed behavior. That means that when we present humanity as a hopeless victim of climate change, we are less likely to act because the ending seems inevitable. Climate change adaptation only works when we are hopeful for the future and believe that environmentally vulnerable communities have the agency to act.

Something simple and concrete that each of us can do? Tell different stories.

On the other hand:

Larsen C calves trillion ton iceberg

A one trillion tonne iceberg – one of the biggest ever recorded - has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica. The calving occurred sometime between Monday 10th July and Wednesday 12th July 2017, when a 5,800 square km section of Larsen C finally broke away. The iceberg, which is likely to be named A68, weighs more than a trillion tonnes. Its volume is twice that of Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes.

The final breakthrough was detected in data from NASA’s Aqua MODIS satellite instrument, which images in the thermal infrared at a resolution of 1km, and confirmed by NASA’s Suomi VIIRS instrument.

The development of the rift over the last year was monitored using data from the European Space Agency Sentinel-1 satellites – part of the European Copernicus Space Component. Sentinel-1 is a radar imaging system capable of acquiring images regardless of cloud cover, and throughout the current winter period of polar darkness.

The iceberg weighs more than a trillion tonnes (1,000,000,000,000 metric tonnes), but it was already floating before it calved away so has no immediate impact on sea level. The calving of this iceberg leaves the Larsen C Ice Shelf reduced in area by more than 12%, and the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula changed forever.

It's not a doomsday event. Partially because climate change is really, really, really slow and diffuse. So there will never be one significant day that you can point to. And you mostly can't prove that any given individual event is tied to climate change. But also because the ice shelf was already floating this doesn't change sea levels at all--the long term concern is the ice shelf collapsing or the glaciers behind it speeding up their passage to the ocean.

Robear wrote:

They'll make more out of the increase in agriculture and population.

It's going to kill our seafood industry though, so I think it'll be more of a rearrangement than a gain, and the NE stubbornness is going to make it very painful.

Climate change will bring about massive biosphere degradation. That's the part that will make it difficult to see if we can actually survive it.

My understanding is that we're already at a pretty optimal point for agriculture. All our plants are adapted to the present (well, pre-late-20th c.) conditions. You're not going to replace Iowa with Vermont.

More pertinently I don't see a situation where the rest of the US goes to hell but life in New England remains peachy keen.

That being said, I'd still much rather try to live through climate change in New England than, say, Florida (where I moved from).

Huh, that's an interesting map. The south gets worse and the north gets better, at least economically.

I bet looking at the effects on flora and fauna for the country would be basically an entirely red map. Nature is not going to do so well at all. Already isn't.

It's correlated with changing coastlines and rising temps, so it's pretty much what you'd expect. And yeah, places like Alabama and Mississippi, which are at least solid agricultural states today, will need to change their crops. And, of course, deal with the increased heat indices that could drive humans out of outdoors work altogether for weeks out of the year in those places.

Robear wrote:

It's correlated with changing coastlines and rising temps, so it's pretty much what you'd expect. And yeah, places like Alabama and Mississippi, which are at least solid agricultural states today, will need to change their crops. And, of course, deal with the increased heat indices that could drive humans out of outdoors work altogether for weeks out of the year in those places.

Not if you use prison labor/slave labor.

If you did that under those circumstances, you'd run out of prisoners pretty quickly.

That's the projected economic impacts of climate change.

The projected impact of climate change on US agriculture is a bit more complicated than "Iowa gets replaced with North Dakota."

In general the climate models show that growing seasons will become longer, there will be fewer frost days (and fewer cool nights, which a lot of crops need), more dry days and more consecutive dry days, and much more plant heat stress. Some areas will benefit, but the major agricultural areas we have today are going to be hit very hard.

The climate models also have some limitations. They account for temperature change pretty well, but have a harder time modeling precipitation, and have absolutely no idea how insects, pests, and plant diseases are going to react to climate changes.

What's clear is that there will have to be radical changes over the next 100 in agriculture covering everything from where things are grown to what is grown (we'll have to literally create new crop varieties and hybrids that can cope with the heat and drought). And our current agricultural set up--growing lots of corn and soybeans that primarily goes to make livestock feed--won't be sustainable forever.

Also, not all soils are equal either. More clay, sandier, rockier... just because the climate "moves" to a new area, doesn't mean "the thing that likes that climate" can even grow there.

Robear wrote:

If you did that under those circumstances, you'd run out of prisoners pretty quickly. :-(

Unless states have a financial incentive (let's say a penalty) with the private prisons they've contracted... in which case they'll find ways to fill them.

Two Twitter threads:
First, by the author of the The Uninhabitable Earth article: https://twitter.com/dwallacewells/st...

Second, by a reporter at Vox:
https://twitter.com/drvox/status/885...

Gremlin wrote:

Second, by a reporter at Vox:
https://twitter.com/drvox/status/885...

How can this guy blog about climate politics and not grok that virtually all scientists--like any highly technical professional--absolutely suck at communicating to laypeople? And for good reason. Their jobs require them to be precise, to choose their words very carefully (with everyone understanding exactly what those words mean scientifically), and openly acknowledge the limitations of their data, models, findings, etc.

And all of those things are exactly the opposite of how laypeople communicate with each other. We use broad strokes to tell stories and connect ideas. We exaggerate some things and minimize other things to sharpen the narrative.

This is also why the climate change skeptics are so successful. There's nothing stopping them from confidently making absolute statements from a single dubious industry-funded study. They're just telling stories that let greenhouse gas producing industries keep making money hand over fist and let politicians keep their anti-government/anti-regulation/free market ideas in one piece.

What his tweetstorm does highlight is the need for people, perhaps Vox bloggers, to help climate scientists communicate with the public in a way that is both scientifically accurate and compelling enough to encourage change.

OG_slinger wrote:

This is also why the climate change skeptics are so successful. There's nothing stopping them from confidently making absolute statements from a single dubious industry-funded study. They're just telling stories that let greenhouse gas producing industries keep making money hand over fist and let politicians keep their anti-government/anti-regulation/free market ideas in one piece.

This is also exactly why pseudoscience and alternative medicine BS makes so much cash for the people peddling it. Why go through all the work of doing exercise and eating better when you could just pop a pill? Why take that prescription drug with the huge and scary side-effect list when you could just get some essential oils and sniff your way to health?

When you don't have to deal with science, evidence, and truth, you can make and sell anything to people cheaply and easily, and they'll believe it because you can just say whatever you want.

OG Slinger wrote:

The climate models also have some limitations. They account for temperature change pretty well, but have a harder time modeling precipitation, and have absolutely no idea how insects, pests, and plant diseases are going to react to climate changes.

This is what I'm talking about. We don't exactly know how much of our food-producing ability or survival as a species is dependent on other species, great or small. We may think our monoculture crops are independent of prevailing ecology, but they may very well not be and could become impossible to grow in certain atmospheres or without the existence of certain nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Maybe our species will ultimately survive on potatoes and bananas?

We don't even know what our viral or bacterial load will become if most of the macro species go extinct and if we can survive our own immune systems if they become unmoored from the antigen war they've been fighting for millenia.

All the water, earthquake, and atmospheric threats will be significant, but biosphere degradation might be the one that kills us all.

We should have been hedging against that all along. Population controls, etc.

DSGamer wrote:

We should have been hedging against that all along. Population controls, etc.

That tends to get racist REAL fast.

NathanialG wrote:
DSGamer wrote:

We should have been hedging against that all along. Population controls, etc.

That tends to get racist REAL fast.

Yeah. Plus demographic transition has taken care of most of that already. Not that there aren't things to argue about there, but while individual people matter somewhat most of the problem is from things that aren't directly related to population. If we keep the current population but completely stopped using fossil fuels, for example, the problem would be much smaller...

Fortune:These 100 Companies Are Responsible for Most of the World’s Carbon Emissions,
CDP Carbon Majors Report 2017

NathanialG wrote:
DSGamer wrote:

We should have been hedging against that all along. Population controls, etc.

That tends to get racist REAL fast.

Indeed. Unfortunately the most ethical way of keeping the population down -- making sure everyone has appropriate sexual education and access to birth control -- is opposed by some of the major world religions.

Demyx wrote:
NathanialG wrote:
DSGamer wrote:

We should have been hedging against that all along. Population controls, etc.

That tends to get racist REAL fast.

Indeed. Unfortunately the most ethical way of keeping the population down -- making sure everyone has appropriate sexual education and access to birth control -- is opposed by some of the major world religions.

Exactly. Which is why we're seeing plummeting birth rates as nations cross the developmental threshold when birth control becomes ubiquitous.

Demyx wrote:
NathanialG wrote:
DSGamer wrote:

We should have been hedging against that all along. Population controls, etc.

That tends to get racist REAL fast.

Indeed. Unfortunately the most ethical way of keeping the population down -- making sure everyone has appropriate sexual education and access to birth control -- is opposed by some of the major world religions.

This is what I meant.

As childfree as I am I know the best I can do is shake my head and give people the tools to have fewer kids if they choose.