It’s getting hot in here

So, I’ve been feeling remiss in not posting about the latest dire climate warnings (I have at least re-tweeted on the matter).  I think the reality is, as dire and damn concerning as this is, it is obviously well into the future whereas it seems Trump is lighting the world on fire right now.  Alas, the Onion does a great job capturing the present dynamic:

‘Can Anyone Hear Me?’ Shout Terrified Climate Scientists Frantically Waving Arms As Passersby Walk Straight Through Them

WASHINGTON—Growing increasingly panicked as the American public remained oblivious to their efforts, numerous terrified climate scientists had resorted to frantically waving their arms while loudly begging to be acknowledged by throngs of passersby who proceeded to walk straight through them, sources confirmed Tuesday. “Can anyone hear me? Hello?” shouted the discouraged climate scientists as they futilely jumped in front of pedestrians in desperate attempts to block their paths, only to have the people continue on down the block without so much as a glance in their direction. “Please, wait! Stop! Don’t you see we’re on a path to destruction? Hey! Come on, won’t you please stop and listen to me for just a second? Jesus Christ, you fuckers—this is important!” At press time, the scientists were feeling deeply disturbed after returning home to find their families at the dinner table with an eerily similar-looking impostor seated in their place.

And, on the serious side, Vox’s David Roberts on what a serious response would look like.  It’s hard and we won’t do it.  But there’s no shortage of thoughtful ideas.

Needless to say, accomplishing any one of these goals — a global carbon tax, maximized efficiency, an explosion of renewable energy, a wholesale revolution in agriculture, rapid reduction of non-CO2 GHGs, a rapid shift in global lifestyle choices, and successful measures to curb population growth — would be an enormous achievement.

To completely avoid BECCS while still hitting the 1.5 degree target, we would have to accomplish all of them.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

3 Responses to It’s getting hot in here

  1. Mike in Chapel Hill says:

    I think it is too late.

    But, let me offer some positive thoughts: I think we seriously underestimate the recuperative ability of nature. I recently saw a headline about how coral reefs are adapting; the terrain around volcanic eruptions rebounds faster than scientists thought; the oil spills in Long Beach (the 1970s), and somewhere in France in the 1970s both recovered ahead of the estimated timeline.

    So, in my opinion, we have already passed some trigger points, but the homeostatic capacity of Gaia will attenuate some of the damage.

    • Steve Greene says:

      Yes, but I wonder if some of that isn’t like losing a $10 bill and then finding a $1. Sure, anything extra helps, but as humans and a planet we are being soooo dumb about this.

  2. Nicole K. says:

    I liked what my dad said about the recent report:

    Not much to assess … we keep pouring carbon into the atmosphere and it will warm the atmosphere. It will be expensive to reverse course, hence the opposition to accepting change
    BTW, I am pursuing a solar system for my house. Not ready for a Leaf, Prius, Volt, or Tesla, but I’m becoming more passionate about creation care which includes the atmosphere. Probably will affect my voting, too.

    But yeah, it is just too expensive and too much drastic change to do much but pursue adaptation to climate change. We aren’t going to cripple the world economy, which is what would abandoning carbon emissions would require.

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