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What should be done... about climate change

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Plant trees; lots of them (about a trillion to be precise). There was a recent study that showed where the peak efficacy of tree planting would be. Note that this will take some time, and the end-of-life of trees has to be maintained in a way that it is sequestered into ground rather than released/

Electrify everything, and then make the grid/electricity carbon neutral.

Do a better job managing trade-offs (for instance, better plastic packaging to prevent food waste and therefore methane production, but also do something about the plastic itself).

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What I find so favorable about a massive reforestration project is that we are managing the forces of nature to stave off another force of nature. Using the earth's enormous regenerative capabilities to combat climate change is a tool we cannot ignore.

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That's however a very long term project. Trees take a while to grow. And the small sapling don't have the same intake as full grown trees. Not to mention a few other problems with the reforestation of the rain forests.

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Beyond trees alone even certain ground cover crops help, this is a practice already with some eco conscious ranchers. Be nice to find ways to make it as widespread as possible.

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On the same notion, past time we get rid of Glyphosat and some other toxins, that kill off bees (and other useful insects).  Or just kill them all, so we don't have to bother with trying to grow plants.

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19 hours ago, Triskele said:

This is why your first bullet point from your first post about total paradigm shifts with energy innovations are our only hope. 

Yep. I mean, it's laudable to reduce a bit and go to clean energy and whatnot, and it's laudable to phase out almost all fossil fuel use - but that still isn't enough, not by a large margin. What we need is to be a different animal entirely and have an entirely different relationship with the planet. 

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9 hours ago, IheartIheartTesla said:

Plant trees; lots of them (about a trillion to be precise). There was a recent study that showed where the peak efficacy of tree planting would be. Note that this will take some time, and the end-of-life of trees has to be maintained in a way that it is sequestered into ground rather than released/

Counterpoint: planting those trees causes a massive danger to huge fires, and those huge fires are going to be a major part of our ecosystem for a while now. 

And that gives us carbon consumption neutrality of what we have, like, right now, with 7 billion people...in like 30-40 years time. That still isn't going to suffice, even if a trillion trees didn't just get burnt or dead. 

9 hours ago, IheartIheartTesla said:

Electrify everything, and then make the grid/electricity carbon neutral. 

This helps a lot, but is also impossible. We can't practically electrify large shipping across the ocean, as an example, at least not with the current tech and systems we use. We can't electrify jets. Probably the best way to do this is to electrify everything and forbid anything that isn't. Good luck doing that with military though. 

9 hours ago, IheartIheartTesla said:

Do a better job managing trade-offs (for instance, better plastic packaging to prevent food waste and therefore methane production, but also do something about the plastic itself).

Interestingly there was a neat report recently that stated that as bad as plastic production is, from a carbon perspective it's the least damaging, largely because the use of things like cardboard makes things 2-3 times heavier and takes quite a bit of energy to actually produce. It's better for the environment in other ways due to its biodegradability, but worse for carbon footprint.

Which is why I said that you can't think about changing small behaviors like this if you're serious. The problem with plastic packaging isn't the plastic, it's that we have such a surplus of cheap, disposable goods that are shipped all over the fucking place. 

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Here's some light on what could be done through global reforestation projects.

 https://www.yahoo.com/news/study-climate-change-can-be-reversed-by-planting-a-forest-nearly-double-the-size-of-the-us-180000751.html

It's not something that should be the singular silver bullet, but it's definitely a heavy hitter within the arsenal of efforts that we should be employing to mitigate as much climate change as possible. We can and should do more on this front.

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45 minutes ago, A Horse Named Stranger said:

Just 40-100 years before it reaches peak intake. Like I said, trees take time to grow.

I read a interesting artical about growing mini forests 10 times faster than normal

https://www.treehugger.com/lawn-garden/grow-100-year-old-forest-your-backyard-just-10-years.html

 

so with the right conditions we won't have to wait 100 years for the real benefit

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The "grow lots of trees" idea is a good one and something we can do right now at scale, but there is also a major issue with wildfires, and how to grow the trees in the right place where they actually get a chance to grow and start mopping up the carbon dioxide without burning down. Given the number of forest fires in Siberia and inside the Arctic Circle this year, this is going to be a problem, although not an insurmountable one.

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Nothing with real impact will be done anyway. Most people are not even willing to eat less meat because of pleasure they get from eating it.

Economic growth would need to be a crime against humanity instead of the goal of every nation of the planet for anything worthwhile to happen anyway. 

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On 7/18/2019 at 11:38 PM, A Horse Named Stranger said:

First I agree with you.

Second, I can't help but to notice the irony of talking about personal responsibility with regards to peoples' carbon footprints and consumer choices, and smokers ending up with heart surgeries, while you were somewhat less onboard with the personal responsibility angle, when I mentioned it with connection to Facebook (during the CA scandal).

 

Hahaha! I literally have no recollection of what you’re talking about!

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8 hours ago, Werthead said:

The "grow lots of trees" idea is a good one and something we can do right now at scale, but there is also a major issue with wildfires, and how to grow the trees in the right place where they actually get a chance to grow and start mopping up the carbon dioxide without burning down.

The reason I brought it up is this rather recent paper:

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/365/6448/76.full?ijkey=OxoPlV/Tcl1Ao&keytype=ref&siteid=sci

Quote

Using global environmental layers (table S1) (11), we examined how climate, edaphic, and topographic variables drive the variation in natural tree cover across the globe. The focus on protected areas is intended to approximate natural tree cover. Of course, these regions are not entirely free of human activity (11), presenting slightly lower tree cover than expected in some regions or higher tree cover than expected in other regions because of low fire frequency, but these ecosystems represent areas with minimal human influence on the overall tree cover.

Quote

Using existing global land-cover layers (1517), our maps reveal that there is likely to be space for at least an additional 0.9 billion ha of canopy cover. If these restored woodlands and forests were allowed to mature to a similar state of existing ecosystems in protected areas, they could store 205 GtC. Of course, the carbon capture associated with global restoration could not be instantaneous because it would take several decades for forests to reach maturity. Nevertheless, under the assumption that most of this additional carbon was sourced from the atmosphere, reaching this maximum restoration potential would reduce a considerable proportion of the global anthropogenic carbon burden (~300 GtC) to date (1). This places ecosystem restoration as the most effective solution at our disposal to mitigate climate change.

So a lot of the potential is there in protected regions that are somewhat shielded from human activity and therefore also fire. At any rate, the Crowther lab does a fair bit of work in regards to this, and thats probably the place to go to learn more about wher the 'tree potential' is maximum.

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On 7/18/2019 at 11:56 PM, Kalbear said:

As to what that religion would look like, that gets more into the idea of what a life would be like.

Specifically:

  • Conspicuous consumption is morally outrageous
  • wasting anything - food, clothing, whatever - is morally outrageous
  • Virtually no one travels anywhere far other than to put down infrastructure for nontravel or in emergency cases. 
  • Sprawl is morally outrageous
  • Single family homes are morally outrageous
  • Consumer goods are largely morally outrageous, and are expected to last for a long time without replacement
  • Most entertainment is virtual or does not require in-person travel
  • Vacations become virtual
  • Most food is locally available
  • food preservation becomes a bigger deal

With some qualifications, such that it was not morally condemned but frowned upon or simply not available or not affordable such that vacations were almost non-existent or as local (the next shore, lake or scenic/mountainous region for a few days) as most entertainment this was basically the life of my grandparents (born in the early 1900s) in Germany until ca. 1950s. (I am not sure one of my grandmas ever left a circle of ca. 200 km around her home village (and 99,9% of her life took place in a 2 km radius), my other grandma went to Austria once or twice when she was in her 70s.)

With a few more qualifications a lot was still true about 50 years ago in Western European countries. Sure, there was some travel (like going to the Baltic Sea or the Alps or the Adriatic by train or car for two or three weeks), there was usually one car per family etc. but e.g. flying was still quite rare (especially intercontinental on the one hand and short ones on the other) even when I was a kid in mid-1980s West Germany. We had one TV set for the whole family, for a long time only one stereo (later the kids got the old record player), we frequently got clothes from older siblings or cousins, likewise bicycles and toys, my grandma and mom preserved some homegrown vegetables, cooked jam etc. (while a lot of our fruit/vegetables was homegrown I think that the economic impact of this was no big deal). Until I was 16 or 17 my furthest away holidays were Austria and Denmark (which was certainly below average because we were a large family and not that well-off, but it was not totally uncommon either), I was about 22 when I got on an airplane (Germany to Britain) for the first time in my life, this was in 1994, I think.

So the solution is technically possible because with the huge gains in technology we can safe a lot of energy and resources compared to ca. 1970. It's "only" that we would have to go back to the standard of living of 1970 (or in some things to 1950 or even to the interwar period, e.g. flying becoming an exceedingly rare luxury) that makes it socially and economically not feasible.

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32 minutes ago, IheartIheartTesla said:

So a lot of the potential is there in protected regions that are somewhat shielded from human activity and therefore also fire. 

I don't see how this follows at all. It's true that the Camp fire was started by an electrical line getting knocked down, but most big fires are simply started by lightning and are part of the natural course. They're just getting, well, bigger. 

This solves, I guess, the idea that the fires would cause habitation issues, but it doesn't solve causing massive fires that are getting fueled, and it also either requires major forest management and fire management or the idea that good chunks of various continents are going to be in smoke and dust and hazardous breathing conditions. 

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12 minutes ago, Jo498 said:

So the solution is technically possible because with the huge gains in technology we can safe a lot of energy and resources compared to ca. 1970. It's "only" that we would have to go back to the standard of living of 1970 (or in some things to 1950 or even to the interwar period, e.g. flying becoming an exceedingly rare luxury) that makes it socially and economically not feasible. 

And here I was hoping for a carbon neutral spaceflight.

I mean seriously, we should be cutting back on commerical air travel (not to mention those polution monsters called cruise ships). But instead bored billionaires (Bezos, Musk, Branson) decided to emulate Howard Hughes (and quite patheticly at that) and launching their commercial space travel gig. Because Space is the new Mount Everest apparently.

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The crazy thing is that features of a world that many people alive today have experienced as normal and compatible with a decent standard of living seem to have become intolerable deprivations and restrictions of well-being and freedom. Industrialized agriculture and factory-farmed animals were almost non-existent in Europe in 1960. (My mom was 15 then and had to milk a cow every morning before school, her family was almost self-sufficient with part time farming - I am not claiming that we should or could go back to this, but it is just one generation ago, we weren't living in caves)

Fast fashion or flying at least once a year for holidays did not exist in 1985 (and there was far less flying on business, I remember that around that time a father of a friend of mine who was a research chemist at a large corporation attended the Expo in Vancouver and this was considered something fairly special). There are probably more examples, such as # of cars in Germany having doubled between 1980 and 2007 (not sure how the reunification figures here, though.)

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2 hours ago, IheartIheartTesla said:

So a lot of the potential is there in protected regions that are somewhat shielded from human activity and therefore also fire. At any rate, the Crowther lab does a fair bit of work in regards to this, and thats probably the place to go to learn more about wher the 'tree potential' is maximum.

not quite correct. My corner of the country (Alaska) fire crews are currently moping up a forest fire that raged most of July and topped 100,000 acres.  It was started by lightning, just far enough from the road grid to where it escaped immediate detection.  There are multiple (double digit range) of lightning caused fires in other parts of the state (and presumably Canada and elsewhere). 

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