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michael murphy

Climate Change Mitigation

The studies are in. No matter what we do, climate change has enough momentum to carry it forward for some time. So the question I'm putting to everyone is this: should we undo what we've done? Carbon drawdown, carbon sequestering, resalinization of the ocean; lots of "solutions" have been floated to get us out of this self-inflicted mess. Obviously we have to eliminate our reliance on carbon-based fuels, but should we attempt to take more direct action?

What do you all think?

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You ask a good question that requires a lenghty reply. :) Unfortunately I dont have the time needed at this moment..

So this quote from Rosa Luxemburg and her "Junius Pamphlet" will have to do for now:

"We stand today ... before the awful proposition: either the triumph of imperialism and the destruction of all culture, and, as in ancient Rome, depopulation, desolation, degeneration, a vast cemetery; or, the victory of socialism."

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The studies are in. No matter what we do, climate change has enough momentum to carry it forward for some time. So the question I'm putting to everyone is this: should we undo what we've done? Carbon drawdown, carbon sequestering, resalinization of the ocean; lots of "solutions" have been floated to get us out of this self-inflicted mess. Obviously we have to eliminate our reliance on carbon-based fuels, but should we attempt to take more direct action?

What do you all think?

The more "direct action" is to do many things. Reduce the reliance on carbon-based fuels has to be addressed on many fronts, solar energy, wind energy, wave energy are just a few that are in production and need more funding to get to the place where the reduction in carbon-based fuels can be really be reduced. You can bet that in 2009 you are going to see a huge shift to electric or electric/hybrid cars at least in the US. You will see the shift quicker in Europe and the US than in the less developed county's just because they can react quicker.

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The more "direct action" is to do many things. Reduce the reliance on carbon-based fuels has to be addressed on many fronts, solar energy, wind energy, wave energy are just a few that are in production and need more funding to get to the place where the reduction in carbon-based fuels can be really be reduced. You can bet that in 2009 you are going to see a huge shift to electric or electric/hybrid cars at least in the US. You will see the shift quicker in Europe and the US than in the less developed county's just because they can react quicker.

I agree with all that. But my question is, what about intentionally working to change the climate to undo what we've done? Methods like carbon drawdown and sequestering would do just that.

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Obviously we have to eliminate our reliance on carbon-based fuels, but should we attempt to take more direct action?

What do you all think?

What I find interesting is that people seem to take for granted that capitalism, who got us into this mess, will get us out of it. Why is that so?

I agree with all that. But my question is, what about intentionally working to change the climate to undo what we've done? Methods like carbon drawdown and sequestering would do just that.

You mean like through iron fertilization and such? I don't know really. Such methods, I believe, where we actually play "god" over the climate can create more (unexpected) problems than they actually solve.

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What I find interesting is that people seem to take for granted that capitalism, who got us into this mess, will get us out of it. Why is that so?

I don't know that anybody brought up capitalism. In any case, I feel that although the problem runs deeper than economics, capitalism is a factor that will need to be addressed. However, right now the free market is a Sacred Cow, even with the current crisis. Directly opposing the capitalist system will hurt the ecology movement in the short-term. I forget who said it first but, "the new world will grow within the old." I think we have to work with the system we have until we can supplant it with a postcapitalist one.

You mean like through iron fertilization and such? I don't know really. Such methods, I believe, where we actually play "god" over the climate can create more (unexpected) problems than they actually solve.

I've always felt terms like "playing god" are unhelpful--although to be fair, I'm an atheist so I suppose I'm biased. It seems a big part of our problem thus far has been acting without understanding. If you apply the precautionary principle, I don't see that a categorical ban on climate retroengineering is necessary.

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climate retroengineering is at this time a fantasy because we really don't understand all the factors in play.

many are now forecasting that it will get colder. be interesting if the global warming were to disapear and we go into a cooler period. really screw with peoples minds....

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That's not really true, mountainhiker. The "global cooling" rumor is based on thoroughly debunked studies from the 70s. There are occasional dips in the global temperature but the overall trend has been an increase over the last 200 years.

In reference to your main point, the fact that we can't know everything isn't necessarily a reason to avoid action entirely. We don't know how gravity works yet, but we can still build airplanes and helicopters. As I mentioned before, an absence of complete knowledge implies a need for caution, not inaction.

Anyway, I think we can agree that the first order of business should be to focus on the causes of the climate crisis, i.e. anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

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I don't know that anybody brought up capitalism. In any case, I feel that although the problem runs deeper than economics, capitalism is a factor that will need to be addressed. However, right now the free market is a Sacred Cow, even with the current crisis. Directly opposing the capitalist system will hurt the ecology movement in the short-term. I forget who said it first but, "the new world will grow within the old." I think we have to work with the system we have until we can supplant it with a postcapitalist one.

Sure, we could call it "market environmentalism" at the moment, but it's still the same thing, based on the same paradigm. The higher the profit is, the higher the growth rate will be, which in turn leads to a higher rate of depletion of various recourses which ultimately leads to a higher rate of pollution. At the end of capitalism there will be environmental destruction.

But, you are correct. This is not really what this thread is about. I will save my comments for some other time. Sorry! :)

I've always felt terms like "playing god" are unhelpful--although to be fair, I'm an atheist so I suppose I'm biased. It seems a big part of our problem thus far has been acting without understanding. If you apply the precautionary principle, I don't see that a categorical ban on climate retroengineering is necessary.

Well, my comment about playing god was merely a way to easily explain my viewpoint. And of course a ban is not needed.

But are we really that scared to move away from status quo that we could take the "easy" way, so to say, and try to engineer the climate to suit our needs. It's better to take the bull by it horns and stop our CO2 emitting sources, invest in a more sustainable society, renewable energy etc.

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Sure, we could call it "market environmentalism" at the moment, but it's still the same thing, based on the same paradigm. The higher the profit is, the higher the growth rate will be, which in turn leads to a higher rate of depletion of various recourses which ultimately leads to a higher rate of pollution. At the end of capitalism there will be environmental destruction.

But, you are correct. This is not really what this thread is about. I will save my comments for some other time. Sorry! :)

Well, my comment about playing god was merely a way to easily explain my viewpoint. And of course a ban is not needed.

But are we really that scared to move away from status quo that we could take the "easy" way, so to say, and try to engineer the climate to suit our needs. It's better to take the bull by it horns and stop our CO2 emitting sources, invest in a more sustainable society, renewable energy etc.

I don't know why it keeps being interpreted as an "either-or" choice. I don't see why we can't abandon unsustainable technology and use new sustainable technologies to mitigate some of the alterations we've made.

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Yeah, and those floating white plastic discs could come in handy for polar bears! ;)

:lol: Thanks for the laugh... might be a good temporary replacement till the ice comes back.

Seriously though, most of the proposal are scientifically unfeasible and downright dangerous.

Sulfur dioxide in the stratosphere!? The atmosphere is not static. Remember in the 70/s how much damage was done to the environment by acid rain? yup - sulfur dioxide in the stratosphere would just rewind us back to those days.

Lenses in space!? - that's too far out to even touch... maybe we could just use lots of Hubble telescopes, at least then we'd get the added benefit of seeing more of what's out there

partly cloudy all the time? - hmmm, let's see... on cloudy days the local temperatures actually increases. I think they blame it on the comfy blanket effect - clouds act as blankets trapping any heat that penetrates it. And let's not forget trapping any heat we generate too.

Greening the oceans - this is an interesting one. The theory sounds good but I don't think we know enough about the longterm effects. I'm not so sure that it would actually sequester enough CO2 to make a difference and then there's always the food web to consider. There could be some short-term benefits like increasing the biodiversity which would be the primary means of returning the CO2 back into the atmosphere.

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I don't know why it keeps being interpreted as an "either-or" choice. I don't see why we can't abandon unsustainable technology and use new sustainable technologies to mitigate some of the alterations we've made.

I'm all for abandoning unsustainable technologies for sustainable ones but I do think Simon has a point. I dislike capitalism mainly because certain despicable people tend dress it up and parade it around as democracy.

Anyway, the link between capitalism and the natural order of things is quite strong. All living things seem to exist for the mainly to reproduce and attempt to dominate a niche. Reproduction requires growth and the consumption of resources and these are the links to which capitalism has tapped into. The unfortunate thing is that capitalism drives this natural tendency to the extreme. It makes us lose focus of the essentials and broadens the scope so as to affect all niches in the environment. The bi-products from capitalism are the technologies which give us such comfort or pleasure that we now feel they are essential and no-one wants to give up.

I wrote a related article on Eco Powered Tech to highlight the fact that our science and technologies are giving us the way to use capitalism to curb the excesses without necessarily abandoning the comforts and pleasures that the technologies bring. I feel strongly that eco powered technologies are the missing pieces of the recycling puzzle that will appeal and appease the masses while furthering the goal of sustainable living.

Once we achieve sustainable living, capitalism will be exposed for what is really is; just mind games fueled by the ambitions of egomaniacs. B)

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