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It's the End of the World: Climate Collapse

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I don't know whether there's a tipping point of no return concerning CO2 that we've already passed, or not. I think we're probably close to it or have already passed it. 

However, I do know that regardless of any tipping point, changing our behavior to reduce our output is ALWAYS going to help. Even if the climate pattern is already changed beyond repair, certainly, adding less to it cannot be worse. In terms of risk analysis, I see no permutation where concerted efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emission is a no-go. 

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In other news:

 

1. Oceanic apoxic dead zones have quadrupled in size since 1950. Link: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/04/oceans-suffocating-dead-zones-oxygen-starved

2. The new arctic climate is predicted to be dominated by rain, instead of snow. Link: https://www.nature.com/articles/nclimate3240   That article was published in March of 2017. Then, in Sept 2017, someone observed actual rainfall in the arctic: http://blogs.reuters.com/environment/2008/01/04/how-often-does-it-rain-at-the-north-pole/ 

 

That's all. 

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Our ability to dump particulates into the atmosphere to cool it down probably puts a cap on how hot we'll get (although hopefully that will never have to be used), but there's a lot of damage that could be done on the way there. Unless we figure out some way to pull CO2 from the atmosphere en masse, I personally tend to think we'll end up at the four or five degree Celsius level of warming by 2100, and then level out and slowly decline afterwards. 

Or maybe they'll just keep it up there. That has long term consequences, but stability is the key in reviving ecosystems. Everything would be put through the strainer again with a drop in CO2 from the new level. 

Edited by Fall Bass

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On 1/11/2018 at 1:48 AM, Fall Bass said:

Our ability to dump participles into the atmosphere to cool it down probably puts a cap on how hot we'll get (although hopefully that will never have to be used), but there's a lot of damage that could be done on the way there. Unless we figure out some way to pull CO2 from the atmosphere en masse, I personally tend to think we'll end up at the four or five degree Celsius level of warming by 2100, and then level out and slowly decline afterwards. 

Or maybe they'll just keep it up there. That has long term consequences, but stability is the key in reviving ecosystems. Everything would be put through the strainer again with a drop in CO2 from the new level. 

or can find a to convert the excess CO2  to O2. 

 

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6 minutes ago, GAROVORKIN said:

or can find a to convert the excess CO2  to O2. 



Problem with this idea is that it takes energy to accomplish that. So before we can start seriously thinking about anything like that we have to sort out the dependence on fossil energy, otherwise it's no help at all.

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10 minutes ago, polishgenius said:



Problem with this idea is that it takes energy to accomplish that. So before we can start seriously thinking about anything like that we have to sort out the dependence on fossil energy, otherwise it's no help at all.

 Fusion power  holds promise but,   there are so many technical issues to solve that  it might be another 50 to 75 years before they can make it practical.  It would be a nearly limitless source of clean energy .

Edited by GAROVORKIN

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Converting CO2 to O2 isn't hard, it's just energy intensive. Like really energy intensive. So much so that despite what many people think plants don't actually convert CO2 into O2. They convert H2O into H+ and O2 and combined that H+ with CO2 to make sugar.

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15 minutes ago, GAROVORKIN said:

 Fusion power  holds promise but,   there are so many technical issues to solve that  it might be another 50 to 75 years before they can make it practical.  It would be a nearly limitless source of clean energy .



Fusion power is one of those things that we should be researching but should be in no way planning for, since as far as I understand it there's still no guarantee we'll ever be able to contain it in a useful, sustainable way. If it happens, brilliant, but what we need to be looking at is a renewable/clean energy grid.

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16 hours ago, polishgenius said:



Fusion power is one of those things that we should be researching but should be in no way planning for, since as far as I understand it there's still no guarantee we'll ever be able to contain it in a useful, sustainable way. If it happens, brilliant, but what we need to be looking at is a renewable/clean energy grid.

The longest  been able sustain a fusion reaction for 10  seconds or some very short duration?

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It's far more feasible to store CO2 underground, rather than to convert to O2, trapped between impermeable layers. But, clearly, the energy required would have to come from either non fossil or from renewable fossil to make it worthwhile. 

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2 hours ago, TerraPrime said:

It's far more feasible to store CO2 underground, rather than to convert to O2, trapped between impermeable layers. But, clearly, the energy required would have to come from either non fossil or from renewable fossil to make it worthwhile. 

Did you know Saskatchewan built the world's first big carbon capture and storage facility, spending a billion and a half, and now the power company says it's highly unlikely they'll recommend more facilities be built with the cost of natural gas so low?
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/saskpower-carbon-capture-unlikely-future-1.4386411

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As everyone knows, "cyanobacteria" used sunlight and CO2 to get our oxygen levels to the current 21% it resides at. Algae can do something similar these days, all you really need are some smoke stacks, some sea water and abundant sunlight (or even convert the CO2 to ethanol, if fuel is your end goal). However, it is tough to get these things to scale (there are also some technical difficulties in terms of efficiency, light can penetrate very much into a dense and opaque blob of algae, for instance).

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On 14.1.2018 at 0:41 AM, polishgenius said:

Fusion power is one of those things that we should be researching but should be in no way planning for, since as far as I understand it there's still no guarantee we'll ever be able to contain it in a useful, sustainable way. If it happens, brilliant, but what we need to be looking at is a renewable/clean energy grid.

Fusion power is one of those things that have been "close to a real breakthrough" for almost 50 years now.

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45 minutes ago, Jo498 said:

Fusion power is one of those things that have been "close to a real breakthrough" for almost 50 years now.

Considering technical hurdles, it may be another 50 to 75 years before we have the technical means to make it practical .

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2 hours ago, GAROVORKIN said:

Considering technical hurdles, it may be another 50 to 75 years before we have the technical means to make it practical .



It may be never, is the point we're both making.

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We mastered not quite controlled fusion well enough (it is called H bomb). I don't know enough about controlled fusion technology but the general physics (both nuclear fusion and plasma physics) is not particularly new or admitting of sudden leaps and bounds because of many known unknowns. It seems simply that it is hard to control what would otherwise become and H bomb.

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It's hard to get controlled fusion at a net-positive level of energy output vs input, and to do it at scale. The "scale" issue in particular has bedeviled fusion projects for years - someone comes up with a neat little fusion idea, projects that "if we could just scale this up by a factor of 500, we'd be net positive and get a self-sustaining 'ignition and burn' fusion reaction", and then it turns out to be extremely difficult to scale up (if not impossible). 

And of course it's not enough to solve the technical issues. It has to be something that can be built and maintained en masse in a practical fashion, and preferably be something that's cost-effective compared to other forms of low- or zero-carbon energy. I just don't see it coming online in time to make a big difference this century, unless somebody discovers practical, net-positive, cost-effective nuclear fusion in the next 5-10 years. 

Nature doesn't give me any confidence that we will. The Sun is a tremendously inefficient fusion reactor - IIRC, the power output that its core creates per cubic meter is on par with a compost heap. 

Edited by Fall Bass

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20 hours ago, IheartIheartTesla said:

As everyone knows, "cyanobacteria" used sunlight and CO2 to get our oxygen levels to the current 21% it resides at. Algae can do something similar these days, all you really need are some smoke stacks, some sea water and abundant sunlight (or even convert the CO2 to ethanol, if fuel is your end goal). However, it is tough to get these things to scale (there are also some technical difficulties in terms of efficiency, light can penetrate very much into a dense and opaque blob of algae, for instance).

There has been talks of oil farms using algae. The pictures I saw have thing bags of liquid hanging like laundry. 

The problem, as I  see it, is that photosynthesis only converts the carbon in CO2 to other forms of carbon, which now needs to be disposed of. I think if we harvest the biomass and bury it, that'd be one way of removal of carbon in a net sense. If we use the oil from algae, then it's just recycling current carbon and doesn't remove carbon. 

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If fusion reactors ever become feasible they will probably be neither cheap nor clean. Current experiments with plasma confinement certainly aren't. So, if we want to get away from fossil fuel it's renewables. There isn't anything else.

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