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Rippounet

What should be done... about climate change

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I do find it encouraging that measures like this are being pressed in the current climate.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/california-signs-deal-with-4-automakers-to-raise-gas-mileage/ar-AAEQxzH?ocid=msnclassic

 

DETROIT (AP) — Four major automakers have reached a deal with California to increase gas mileage and greenhouse gas emissions standards, bypassing the Trump administration's plan to freeze standards at 2021 levels.

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There's actually no logical reason for a lot of business travel to happen any more. Skype and email negate the need to physically travel thousands or even hundreds of miles to attend meetings or conferences. E3 this year had a marked downturn in attendance precisely because all of the announcements were being done online as well as in person, so why take the time and considerable cost to travel there physically?

The reason why there won't be a huge downturn in air travel is because people want to travel abroad on jollies and holidays (even moreso with Instagrammers and influencers telling people they should), and telling them they can't is not politically possible, even if it becomes essential. Air travel has actually become a lot more economic and cost-effective in terms of footprint per passenger, which is good, but it has also grown at such a staggering rate that the overall global impact is far, far worse than it was a few decades ago.

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2 minutes ago, Werthead said:

The reason why there won't be a huge downturn in air travel is because people want to travel abroad on jollies and holidays (even moreso with Instagrammers and influencers telling people they should), and telling them they can't is not politically possible, even if it becomes essential. Air travel has actually become a lot more economic and cost-effective in terms of footprint per passenger, which is good, but it has also grown at such a staggering rate that the overall global impact is far, far worse than it was a few decades ago.

Yes. That's basically the tragedy of attempts to reduce the carbon emissions (thus combating global warming). This is a bit like colon cancer screenings. In theory everybody is in favour of it, but to actually go to the Doctor's office and have colonoscopy is an entirely different story. So (almost) everybody is concerned about climate change, but getting rid of your car, making Air travel much more expensive (in order to reduce it), that's an entirely different story.

As for the carbon footprint per passenger. I know you don't need the explanation. But that's obvious. Ofc, if I sit in a plane with 300 other people, the carbon footprint per passenger is lower, than when there were just 50 people on board (ceteris paribus with the same plane ofc). However when there's ten times as many planes in the air, the carbon footprint produced by air travel is also ten times higher. So that metric footprint per passenger should be thrown into the trash can ASAP.

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6 hours ago, Werthead said:

There's actually no logical reason for a lot of business travel to happen any more. Skype and email negate the need to physically travel thousands or even hundreds of miles to attend meetings or conferences. E3 this year had a marked downturn in attendance precisely because all of the announcements were being done online as well as in person, so why take the time and considerable cost to travel there physically?

The reason why there won't be a huge downturn in air travel is because people want to travel abroad on jollies and holidays (even moreso with Instagrammers and influencers telling people they should), and telling them they can't is not politically possible, even if it becomes essential. Air travel has actually become a lot more economic and cost-effective in terms of footprint per passenger, which is good, but it has also grown at such a staggering rate that the overall global impact is far, far worse than it was a few decades ago.

This should also (theoretically at least) reduce the need for actual office space and commuting into the office as people are more able to work remotely, especially with more secure systems being built to store files etc. online. I don’t know if it has or actually will have much impact though, or if the 9-5 workday and commute is too ingrained in our lives now for changes

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I cannot find this anymore. But a few years ago I saw graphs for three areas, namely lighbulbs, cars and heating/isolation. In all three areas efficiency has grown immensely since ca. 1960. (These numbers/stats were probably Germany or Europe.) But also in all three areas this has not led to any saving overall of energy and resources. Because cars are so much heavier and stronger, we have like 1.5 as much living space per person (or so) and we are lighting up much more stuff, such that in all three areas the efficiency gains got more than eaten up by the expansion.

AFAIK Europe has to reduce their eco footprint roughly by a factor of 3, the US by 5, at least in this ballpark. Half of this or more should have been achieved by the efficiency gains mentioned above. For the rest we need to go back to the thrift of our (great)grandparents (reduce/avoid, then re-use; recycle is the last, not the first measure), keep working on more efficiency. Look at examples that already work. Copenhagen supposedly is the best city for cycling in all of Europe. There are probably dozens of cities that could have as high a percentage of bike and public (and correspondingly less car) traffic as Copenhagen. But they don't.

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48 minutes ago, Jo498 said:

I cannot find this anymore. But a few years ago I saw graphs for three areas, namely lighbulbs, cars and heating/isolation. In all three areas efficiency has grown immensely since ca. 1960. (These numbers/stats were probably Germany or Europe.)

I would take that kind of figure with a big lump of salt. Switching from incandescent light bulbs to LED might save some power, but I very much doubt that light bulbs have improved. As for cars, that's mainly manufacturers getting really good at cheating the tests. Maybe modern diesels make trips on the autobahn at 160 kph more fuel efficient, but that's about it. Don't know about heating. I guess there have been some real improvements there.

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1 hour ago, Loge said:

I would take that kind of figure with a big lump of salt. Switching from incandescent light bulbs to LED might save some power, but I very much doubt that light bulbs have improved. As for cars, that's mainly manufacturers getting really good at cheating the tests. Maybe modern diesels make trips on the autobahn at 160 kph more fuel efficient, but that's about it. Don't know about heating. I guess there have been some real improvements there.

My energy-saving light bulbs now last 4-5 times longer than the old ones, which is a key and significant efficiency saving right there. I used to have five or six spare lightbulbs on standby at all times, now I don't need to because they last for years and years.

The key efficiency gain in heating is through much better insulation, which is a legal requirement here in the UK.

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LEDs typically are rated to have lifetimes on the order of 25,000 hours (some of the newest generation are being rated as high as 50,000 hours) vs. about 1,200 hours for traditional bulbs. At the same time, an LED outputs roughly 4-5 times as many lumens as an incadescent for the same power, which usually means that instead of a 60W incandescent you go with a 12-15W LED. 

LED bulbs, and CFL bulbs to a lesser but still significant degree, are simply a no-brainer. The up-front cost is more than made up in long term savings.

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LED are obviously much more power efficient than old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs (which the EU has banned anyway). The question is how large a fraction of your total power consumption is for light. Back when people first got electricity it was all about light but nowadays we have so many electric / electronic devices. Fridges are obviously big consumers, but there are also computers, modems, routers, wireless speakers etc. Most of that stuff is on 24/7, so even if a device draws a few Watt only it adds up.

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A friend of a friend tried to convince me years ago that CFLs are a dead end technology and I should stock up on normal lightbulbs and switch to LEDs once the technology has matured. 

I should have done that CFLs broke all the time in my household and some even imploded. 

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Make public transportation more available and attractive: 

Yesterday my class was visiting Frankfurt.

We did go by train but not because it was cheaper or faster, no because the enviroment.I think a lot of teacher/ principals would have choosen the bus. And that's the problem. You can't just put PT everywhere and charge are really high price.

Also the bus would be more comfortable and less problematic in 40°C. Every German knows what I am talking about (ACs are failing, coordination is non-existant etc.). 

Two examples:

On the ride to Frankfurt the second train we jumped on was a ICE to Kiel. Ten minutes in there we got the announcement that this train would stay in Frankfurt because it had multiple technical deffects.

When we ride home we only took RBs. This was a mistake as we discovered 3 minutes before departure that our train would be waiting on another part of the train station. We ran to a the the very end because a) our train was parked behind another train and b) it was fully overcrowded. 

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10 hours ago, Loge said:

I would take that kind of figure with a big lump of salt. Switching from incandescent light bulbs to LED might save some power, but I very much doubt that light bulbs have improved. As for cars, that's mainly manufacturers getting really good at cheating the tests. Maybe modern diesels make trips on the autobahn at 160 kph more fuel efficient, but that's about it. Don't know about heating. I guess there have been some real improvements there.

compact fluorescent lights do save energy.  When I built the house, I used old line incandescent bulbs.  They burned out every few months, it seemed.  Finally, I bought a pack of the CFB's.  Put them in over a week span as the incandescent bulbs died.  Next month, my electric bill was thirty bucks less than anticipated.  I swapped out the rest of the and cut the tab in half, pretty much.  They also last for years, not months.  LED's are supposed to be better yet, but for now the CFB's are still going strong.  (I'll probably start a gradual LED changeover this winter.)

  

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Just heard in the radio that Massachusetts is looking to pass legislation giving businesses a $2000 per head tax credit for each employee they allow to telecommute/work from home.  Being sold as a traffic relief measure but you'd think it would have some carbon relief too.

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Posted (edited)

Is Bolsonaro the single greatest threat to humanity now?  This article sort of puts this in an American politics context, but really it should apply to everyone.  

ETA:  This gets at something I've been touching on in the US politics thread too about how it seems like there's this mismatch between how much we say we're worried about climate change versus how much we act on it.  If it's as big of a threat as we say couldn't far more radical actions be justified?  Why should the US, China, and EU not ally to remove Bolsonaro from power and claim that they will intervene on any future Brazilian leader who threatens to cut down the rain forest?  Like a NATO of sorts.  

Edited by Triskele

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11 hours ago, Triskele said:

Is Bolsonaro the single greatest threat to humanity now?  This article sort of puts this in an American politics context, but really it should apply to everyone.  

ETA:  This gets at something I've been touching on in the US politics thread too about how it seems like there's this mismatch between how much we say we're worried about climate change versus how much we act on it.  If it's as big of a threat as we say couldn't far more radical actions be justified?  Why should the US, China, and EU not ally to remove Bolsonaro from power and claim that they will intervene on any future Brazilian leader who threatens to cut down the rain forest?  Like a NATO of sorts.  

heretical thought:

I suspect the full onset of 'Peak Oil' will do more to reduce fossil fuel emissions than any legislation and activism.  The 'supply' end for fossil fuels is not good now - the disastrous 'Deepwater Horizon' project was brought on by desperation, and the oil/tar sands of Canada are far from a first choice, to cite but two examples.  And from here, the picture only gets worse.  Come 2040-2050, the petroleum supply situation becomes so dire, it's change over to other energy sources or have civilization collapse.  And that 2040-2050 prediction is with full tilt fracking and increased fossil fuel efficiency.  

 

So, a (possibly) green transformation happens by that time anyhow, even without climate change being factored in.  

 

Of course, this is a heretical and untenable thought for most people on this site.

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8 hours ago, ThinkerX said:

I suspect the full onset of 'Peak Oil' will do more to reduce fossil fuel emissions than any legislation and activism.  The 'supply' end for fossil fuels is not good now - the disastrous 'Deepwater Horizon' project was brought on by desperation, and the oil/tar sands of Canada are far from a first choice, to cite but two examples.  And from here, the picture only gets worse.  Come 2040-2050, the petroleum supply situation becomes so dire, it's change over to other energy sources or have civilization collapse.  And that 2040-2050 prediction is with full tilt fracking and increased fossil fuel efficiency.   

By 2040, internal combustion engines will be obsolete in any case. The reason is that, except for the battery, electric cars are inherently cheaper and simpler so if one can get the battery right, they will out-compete gasoline-based cars regardless of what is happening with oil or legislation. People thought that getting the battery to the point where this is the case would take a long time, but it turns out we're almost there. Here's an article that describes this progression:

Quote

Batteries have been getting smaller and cheaper so much faster than expected that the experts at Bloomberg NEF (BNEF) have had to revise their own projections for electric vehicles every year.

BNEF projected in 2017 that “the crossover point when electric vehicles will be cheaper upfront than a combustion vehicle” would be 2026 (nine years), BNEF energy analyst Nathaniel Bullard tweeted last week.

But things have changed quickly since then and the timeframe has narrowed significantly: in 2018, it was 2024 (six years), and now, in 2019, BNEF projects the crossover point will be 2022 — just three years away.

Achieving parity for upfront, initial cost means that the buying decision for electric vehicles (EVs) is about to become a no-brainer. And that means decarbonizing much of the transportation sector is also becoming a no-brainer.

 

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that merely removes the mystery one step? i.e., the electricity has to get put into the batteries? 

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44 minutes ago, sologdin said:

that merely removes the mystery one step? i.e., the electricity has to get put into the batteries? 

via solar farms or windmill arrays.  solar in particular is exploding in popularity, even here in the far north.

of course, no combination of green energy and renewable energy will be able to maintain present day first world civilization 'as is,' or even close to 'as is.'  

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Build a giant iceberg and park that fucker on the equator I'll drive who's with me?

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