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Climate Change

[some rough notes]

Climate change is real:

Our economic system is broken w.r.t. Climate Change:

Our political system is broken w.r.t Climate Change

  • Individuals vote for personal interests within the time scale of elections
  • Short term individual, constituency and country interests are best served by exploitation of others
  • Climate change is a global problem, there is no World Government to look after global issues
  • Politicians aren't trusted, we have Fake News and Project Fear

We need to act but have failed to do so:

It is likely that global dimming has happened, that is the pollution wr have teased into the air has reflected more sunlight than is natural. When we clean up our pollution, as we must, then we get more sun and so more warming without releasing more CO2. Roughly our warming would and will be twice as much without the associated pollution https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/cleaning-up-air-pollution-may-strengthen-global-warming/

Personal expenditure is a reasonable proxy for damage done:

  • What we spend goes on raw materials (finite), fuel (emissions) and people (who spend on raw materials and fuel)

Action is hard because this is a complex problem that will radically change peoples lives:

We need a plan that is acceptable to all:

  • Most people think that they are hard done by already, so won't take more hardship
  • Some pain now is better than wars later

What you can do to can help (but not fix) in rough order:

  • Switch off stuff you don't use. It's as easy as pulling a plug.
  • Switch to a 100% green energy supplier. You know you get ripped off if you don't change every few years, so change now and it's likely to save money.
  • Eliminate personal food waste - if you've chosen to spend the CO2 to get it to your house then eat it
  • Turn down the thermostat. There's nothing wrong in wearing warm clothes (including thermals) in winter.
  • Eat near-vegan or semi-vegetarian. This is not about being kind to animals, so kill them in moderation if that makes you feel good, it's about our survival. Watch Cowspiracy
  • Reduce fuel usage - e.g. car and especially non-essential plane flights, such as holidays
  • Spend/consume a lot less. Like a lot less. On average a UK person is responsible for 10 tonnes CO2e each, we have to get that down to under 2 tonnes.

Entrepreneurial ideas:

  • Green bank account: Classify all expenditure, auto calculate C02e, pay offsets.
  • Push for “don't spend now” (invest in green/donate to reduce inequality/save for the mess to come)
  • Push for extending GAYE to donations to verified Climate Change organisations

Don't believe that it will be easy to halt global warming, (e.g. 100 solutions to reverse global warming) - not only have we made no progress in reducing emissions so far, we are continually making things worse. We've failed so far and don't even have a good plan for efficient action before it's too late. Go back to this calculator and see if you can personally hit the target.

If you think I've been overly pessimistic, remember that halting global warming is the easy problem. Getting to carbon neutrality does nothing about the poisons we've already released. The warming that has already happened could release a lot more greenhouse gasses from melting tundra, the loss of the Arctic ice cap will result in more warming because snow reflects sunlight well, and the carbon dioxide that has entered our oceans is causing acidification and killing coral reefs. Even if we could go way beyond carbon neutrality to a magical zero emissions we have to tackle the significant problems we've already created. These could easily add as much global warming as we've already seen (e.g https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/cleaning-up-air-pollution-may-strengthen-global-warming/) so it could well be too late to avoid catastrophe - that doesn't mean we shouldn't act now.

To end, here is a big question: Is global warming and individual or institutional responsbility?

  • Individual: It's up to every individual to consume very much less and eat a near-vegan diet - we can do this now and so we only have ourselves to blame.
  • Institutional: We'd be fine consuming at the level we do if only our governments invested in green energy, our companies worked on the tech fixes and capitalism wasn't broken.
climate_change.txt · Last modified: 2019/03/17 12:53 by admin