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A Global Warming Civil War?

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  • A Global Warming Civil War?

    In 2012, the writer and activist Bill McKibben published a heart-stopping essay in Rolling Stone titled “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math.” I’ve read hundreds of thousands of words about climate change over the last decade, but that essay haunts me the most.

    The piece walks through a fairly straightforward bit of arithmetic that goes as follows. The scientific consensus is that human civilization cannot survive in any recognizable form a temperature increase this century more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Given that we’ve already warmed the earth about 0.8 degrees Celsius, that means we have 1.2 degrees left—and some of that warming is already in motion. Given the relationship between carbon emissions and global average temperatures, that means we can release about 565 gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere by mid-century. Total. That’s all we get to emit if we hope to keep inhabiting the planet in a manner that resembles current conditions.

    Now here’s the terrifying part. The Carbon Tracker Initiative, a consortium of financial analysts and environmentalists, set out to tally the amount of carbon contained in the proven fossil fuel reserves of the world’s energy companies and major fossil fuel–producing countries. That is, the total amount of carbon we know is in the ground that we can, with present technology, extract, burn and put into the atmosphere. The number that the Carbon Tracker Initiative came up with is… 2,795 gigatons. Which means the total amount of known, proven extractable fossil fuel in the ground at this very moment is almost five times the amount we can safely burn.

    Proceeding from this fact, McKibben leads us inexorably to the staggering conclusion that the work of the climate movement is to find a way to force the powers that be, from the government of Saudi Arabia to the board and shareholders of ExxonMobil, to leave 80 percent of the carbon they have claims on in the ground. That stuff you own, that property you’re counting on and pricing into your stocks? You can’t have it.

    Given the fluctuations of fuel prices, it’s a bit tricky to put an exact price tag on how much money all that unexcavated carbon would be worth, but one financial analyst puts the price at somewhere in the ballpark of $20 trillion. So in order to preserve a roughly habitable planet, we somehow need to convince or coerce the world’s most profitable corporations and the nations that partner with them to walk away from $20 trillion of wealth. Since all of these numbers are fairly complex estimates, let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that we’ve overestimated the total amount of carbon and attendant cost by a factor of 2. Let’s say that it’s just $10 trillion.

    http://www.thenation.com/article/179...-abolitionism#

    Excellent article for highlighting points of discussion regarding the future of mankind, which we are all involved in. The historical notes are illuminating.

  • #2
    Yup, profits first! The fossil fuel industry has trillions of reasons to fight the global warming/climate change science, and yet right wingers want to make this a liberal/scientific community conspiracy. Sigh.

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    • #3
      What will this do to the dessert tortoise?

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      • #4
        Well, OK, except that oil is not a fossil fuel.

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        • #5
          here is a dissenting opinion
          http://kingworldnews.com/kingworldne...The_World.html

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          • #6
            Originally posted by mhgaffney View Post
            It's wrong. We're not experiencing "massive volcanic eruptions", certainly nothing of the scale of Pinatubo, El Chichon, Agung; never mind much less than Krakatau.

            Besides, volcanic eruptions don't cause the climate system to warm, they cause it to cool because of the reflection of incoming solar by the aerosols injected high into the atmosphere.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Rohirrim View Post
              [I]In 2012, the writer and activist Bill McKibben published a heart-stopping essay in Rolling Stone titled “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math.” I’ve read hundreds of thousands of words about climate change over the last decade, but that essay haunts me the most.
              I stopped reading at "activist Bill McKibben published a heart-stopping essay in Rolling Stone"........didn't want my heart to stop.

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              • #8
                ok, let's say that McKibben is right, for argument's sake. There needs to be some kind of bridge energy that will allow people to have things like electricity and mobility. So, what do the green activists suggest?

                The oil companies and/or energy providers won't walk away from cheap and profitable energy (neither will consumers, just look at China) unless you have another cheap and profitable energy that will replace it.

                So, what do you got? Remember greenies, or the greentards, or the extreme green coalition of morons will fight you on just about anything that hurts the environment. You want solar energy, nope, that hurts the dessert tortoise. You want wind farms, nope, that hurts the little birds. You want nuclear, nope, that really scares the crap out of greenies.

                the world needs energy, some kind of energy. What about natural gas? America has tons of it and it's much cleaner than other carbon fuels. Do you think the green coalition of morons will allow the energy companies to extract natural gas, or will that too hurt the environment too much?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Tombstone RJ View Post
                  What about natural gas?
                  Fracking is great. Harm the environment and wildlife and poor folks all you want. Just don't harm the property values of the rich folks!

                  http://www.orangemane.com/BB/showthread.php?t=115243

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Tombstone RJ View Post
                    ok, let's say that McKibben is right, for argument's sake. There needs to be some kind of bridge energy that will allow people to have things like electricity and mobility. So, what do the green activists suggest?

                    The oil companies and/or energy providers won't walk away from cheap and profitable energy (neither will consumers, just look at China) unless you have another cheap and profitable energy that will replace it.

                    So, what do you got? Remember greenies, or the greentards, or the extreme green coalition of morons will fight you on just about anything that hurts the environment. You want solar energy, nope, that hurts the dessert tortoise. You want wind farms, nope, that hurts the little birds. You want nuclear, nope, that really scares the crap out of greenies.

                    the world needs energy, some kind of energy. What about natural gas? America has tons of it and it's much cleaner than other carbon fuels. Do you think the green coalition of morons will allow the energy companies to extract natural gas, or will that too hurt the environment too much?
                    Nuclear Energy is the great irony in this situation- clean, reliable, plentiful, and safe... it really should be the domiant source of electrical power, especailly since people are being puched towards electric cars, etc. We've already built storgae facitlities for the waste... crazy.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by B-Large View Post
                      Nuclear Energy is the great irony in this situation- clean, reliable, plentiful, and safe... it really should be the domiant source of electrical power, especailly since people are being puched towards electric cars, etc. We've already built storgae facitlities for the waste... crazy.
                      Except for Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and F u kushima and the fact that the deadly waste products last for 240,000 years.

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                      • #12
                        OK so what do you all suggest? (those who are bemoaning natural gas and nuclear)

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TonyR View Post
                          Fracking is great. Harm the environment and wildlife and poor folks all you want. Just don't harm the property values of the rich folks!

                          http://www.orangemane.com/BB/showthread.php?t=115243
                          is the fracking for natural gas?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Tombstone RJ View Post
                            OK so what do you all suggest? (those who are bemoaning natural gas and nuclear)
                            You could start by putting solar panels on every roof and an electric car in every garage.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Rohirrim View Post
                              You could start by putting solar panels on every roof and an electric car in every garage.
                              that costs money, you gonna pay to do that? Again, this has to be realistic. Even if you could do solar panels on every roof (you can't because who will pay to install them, it certainly won't be home owners who have to spend $50k to do it) it won't be enough to power all the electrical and charge up that electical car. You gonna buy everyone an electric car too?

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