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What should be done... about climate change

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Or a giant heat pump or radiator fuck space elevators I'm talking about a space radiator

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On 7/26/2019 at 10:39 AM, 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.

There's also the recent finding that the chemtrails...err I mean vapour trails jet planes make have a warming effect of their own quite apart from the GHG emissions. I wonder if there could be potential for fast sea-going transport as an alternative to air transport, particularly for tourists. High speed trains could replace overland flights and high-speed boats / submarines could replace trans-oceanic flights. If you could have sea vessels that can cross the Atlantic in 24hrs and maybe go from Australia to the US Pacific coast in 48hrs that could be a reasonable replacement for flying. 

One can probably argue that business travel can certainly be substantially decreased by using video conferencing type methods. But there will always need to be substantial business travel for extensive meetings where large distances mean there is a considerable timezone discrepancy.

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5 hours ago, sologdin said:

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

Yes, but there are a few reasons why it's still much better than the status quo. First, as a general rule, even with transmission and storage costs, producing energy in a large power station is more efficient than doing so in many small cars. Second, with coal on the decline and natural gas on the rise, the current mix of power sources is already less carbon intensive than gasoline in most places. And finally, as ThinkerX said, we can and should eventually move to some combination of solar, wind, hydro, geothermal and nuclear power all of which are carbon neutral after the initial construction is done.

Of course, in and of itself this is nowhere near a complete solution, but it is an important step.

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4 hours ago, The Anti-Targ said:

There's also the recent finding that the chemtrails...err I mean vapour trails jet planes make have a warming effect of their own quite apart from the GHG emissions. I wonder if there could be potential for fast sea-going transport as an alternative to air transport, particularly for tourists. High speed trains could replace overland flights and high-speed boats / submarines could replace trans-oceanic flights. If you could have sea vessels that can cross the Atlantic in 24hrs and maybe go from Australia to the US Pacific coast in 48hrs that could be a reasonable replacement for flying. 

Problem is that aerodynamic / hydrodynamic drag scales with the square of the speed. That makes high speeds prohibitively expensive at sea level and for ships. Airplanes avoid this problem by cruising at high altitude. Modern airplanes are remarkably power efficient. But they're still burning fossil fuel... Not sure if electric planes are feasible. The weight of the batteries and (lack of) range will not be easy to overcome.

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5 hours ago, The Anti-Targ said:

There's also the recent finding that the chemtrails...err I mean vapour trails jet planes make have a warming effect of their own quite apart from the GHG emissions. I wonder if there could be potential for fast sea-going transport as an alternative to air transport, particularly for tourists. High speed trains could replace overland flights and high-speed boats / submarines could replace trans-oceanic flights. If you could have sea vessels that can cross the Atlantic in 24hrs and maybe go from Australia to the US Pacific coast in 48hrs that could be a reasonable replacement for flying.

One can probably argue that business travel can certainly be substantially decreased by using video conferencing type methods. But there will always need to be substantial business travel for extensive meetings where large distances mean there is a considerable timezone discrepancy.

We are not even remotely close to that capability in sea travel currently. To travel from New York to London in 24 hours one would need to be going 125 knots an hour. Our fastest ferries only go about half that speed and none of those have transatlantic range. For something with that range your not gonna see much more than 50 knots, still less than half the speed you need for a 24 hour NY to London trip.

We are a long, long, long ways from seeing a more than doubling in these speeds over that kind of distance.

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3 hours ago, Loge said:

Problem is that aerodynamic / hydrodynamic drag scales with the square of the speed. That makes high speeds prohibitively expensive at sea level and for ships. Airplanes avoid this problem by cruising at high altitude. Modern airplanes are remarkably power efficient. But they're still burning fossil fuel... Not sure if electric planes are feasible. The weight of the batteries and (lack of) range will not be easy to overcome.

Electric and solar-powered planes exist and have been tested, but they are nowhere near ready to scale up to actually making a 200+ passenger plane, and probably won't be for 20+ years. It's an area that's lagging far, far behind where cars are at.

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Air travel is a ‘minor’ contributor to climate change in one sense, contributing between 5% and 9% to GHG emissions, but as mentioned above, the vapor trails are estimated to have 2x to 4x the impact of the actual emissions because of chemical reactions at high altitudes.

Rather than eliminate air travel it may have to be rationed, only allowing a certain number of trips or km a year. Emissions from air travel increased 83% between 1990 and 2016. The biggest contributor apparently is air freight. If you want people to be able to travel, eliminate air freight. No more roses from Ecuador for Valentine’s Day in the US and Canada. No more fruit being shipped by air from Israel and South Africa and the antipodes, send it by freighter. GHG emissions per km from bulk carriers are far lower than from air freight.

Countries have to do more about shutting down coal-fired generating plants. Most have been shut down in Canada, but the US refuses to do so. And then there’s China.

The US contributes 15% to the total world emissions, a staggering amount for a country with less than 5% of the world’s population. The breakdown shows 28% comes from transportation, a number that will drop as more electric vehicles hit the road, but the power plants that produce the electricity can’t be coal plants. Natural gas is better, but still fossil fuel. Power generation contributes 27% to emissions in the US. Halve both those numbers and the contribution drops to 11%. And plant 100 m Trees, and there’s a huge impact.

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fuck space elevators I'm talking about a space radiator

NIMBY on a planetary scale.  mars gonna go HGW to cure the externality.

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4 hours ago, Loge said:

Turns out that passenger ships are quite bad at fuel efficiency, even at rather modest speed: https://www.brighthubengineering.com/naval-architecture/100758-cruise-ship-fuel-efficiency/ Travelling by ship is definitely not going to reduce your CO2 footprint. 

We seem to be reading two different articles. The mpg is actually fairly reasonable. The fully loaded jet with over 600 passengers is more fuel efficient, but the article doesn’t take into account the fact the vapor trails, as mentioned above, have 2 to 4 times the impact in the atmosphere as compared to the amount of fuel being used. At 4x it’s comparable to the cruise ship.

The cruise ship is a luxury ship loaded with playtoys and entertainment areas. Strip a lot of that out, make room for hundreds if not thousands more passengers, and the fuel efficiency per passenger increased dramatically.

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I feel like encouraging an “eat local” attitude could be a small step to help cut emissions, much like the restaurant cutting out one use materials from their kitchen i posted about before. If you have people eating food that is seasonal to their area and not, say, importing strawberries to Sunderland from Spain in winter, that has to be rather significant cut to emissioms surely?

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27 minutes ago, HelenaExMachina said:

I feel like encouraging an “eat local” attitude could be a small step to help cut emissions, much like the restaurant cutting out one use materials from their kitchen i posted about before. If you have people eating food that is seasonal to their area and not, say, importing strawberries to Sunderland from Spain in winter, that has to be rather significant cut to emissioms surely?

Depends on where you live, honestly, but yes - transportation costs are the #1 source of carbon emissions (though not by that much compared to electricity) and the less you get shipped, the better - at least for a while. Especially this is true if you eat shipped meat - meat is bad in its production, in its storage (as you need refrigeration), and in its transportation. 

Eat more bugs, that's the solution

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7 hours ago, Loge said:

Turns out that passenger ships are quite bad at fuel efficiency, even at rather modest speed: https://www.brighthubengineering.com/naval-architecture/100758-cruise-ship-fuel-efficiency/ Travelling by ship is definitely not going to reduce your CO2 footprint. 

Only if you're burning fossil fuels to power the ship. Which, sure all passenger ships are doing so now, but there is possibly a shorter timescale to getting fossil fuels out of shipping than out of air travel. I don't know if we'll ever get nuclear powered passenger vessels, but a combination of batteries and on-board generation to get vessels from port to port doesn't seem like too hard of a nut to crack.

29 minutes ago, HelenaExMachina said:

I feel like encouraging an “eat local” attitude could be a small step to help cut emissions, much like the restaurant cutting out one use materials from their kitchen i posted about before. If you have people eating food that is seasonal to their area and not, say, importing strawberries to Sunderland from Spain in winter, that has to be rather significant cut to emissioms surely?

From a country that produces food to feed 30 million people but only has a population of 5 million people I have to oppose "eat local" as a significant climate change strategy. And I also advocate against that for many of the small island nations in the South Pacific. With efficient production systems, and efficient and low-emitting transport solutions it's not always the case that locally produced food has a lower carbon footprint than food produced further afield, including half-way around the world. "Food miles" has been well and truly debunked as far too blunt an instrument to account for the environmental impact of one's diet. And I'm not just saying that applies to the foods we export. There are foods we import that cannot be as environmentally efficiently produced in NZ as other countries, so I would not advocate for local production of those foods when importing makes better environmental sense.

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3 minutes ago, The Anti-Targ said:

From a country that produces food to feed 30 million people but only has a population of 5 million people I have to oppose "eat local" as a significant climate change strategy.

Because it's an economic hit, and not because it's the right strategy for fighting climate change. Got it. 

This would be Yet Another Exhibit of 'I want to save the world, but only if it doesn't change anything at all ever'. 

3 minutes ago, The Anti-Targ said:

And I also advocate against that for many of the small island nations in the South Pacific. With efficient production systems, and efficient and low-emitting transport solutions it's not always the case that locally produced food has a lower carbon footprint than food produced further afield, including half-way around the world.

But we don't have those efficient low-emitting transport solutions right now. 

3 minutes ago, The Anti-Targ said:

 There are foods we import that cannot be as environmentally efficiently produced in NZ as other countries, so I would not advocate for local production of those foods when importing makes better environmental sense.

The solution isn't to eat locally the things you'd normally get abroad. The solution is to eat local things. If you can't get strawberries normally without high cost, you don't eat strawberries

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8 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

Depends on where you live, honestly, but yes - transportation costs are the #1 source of carbon emissions (though not by that much compared to electricity) and the less you get shipped, the better - at least for a while. Especially this is true if you eat shipped meat - meat is bad in its production, in its storage (as you need refrigeration), and in its transportation. 

Eat more bugs, that's the solution

Meat / animal farming gets an unfair bum rap from a carbon emissions perspective. Not all carbon emissions are created equal. The methane that ruminants produce are part of a closed carbon cycle, there is no carbon being added to the system. If you ended all animal farming over night, but did nothing to decrease fossil fuel burning we'd still get catastrophic climate change, only it would be delayed by several years. If you eliminate all fossil fuel burning but left animal farming there would be no more climate change, beyond what's already baked in. There might be a small residual increase but a steady state would be reached well below the targets set by the climate accords.

 

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Just now, The Anti-Targ said:

Meat / animal farming gets an unfair bum rap from a carbon emissions perspective. Not all carbon emissions are created equal. The methane that ruminants produce are part of a closed carbon cycle, there is no carbon being added to the system.

From the methane? No. From the fertilizer, calories, fuel, and water used? Oh you betcha

Just now, The Anti-Targ said:

If you ended all animal farming over night, but did nothing to decrease fossil fuel burning we'd still get catastrophic climate change, only it would be delayed by several years. 

Right, so...we shouldn't delay things and give ourselves some time to develop other systems or wean ourselves off? Because that right there sounds like a feature, not a bug. 

Just now, The Anti-Targ said:

If you eliminate all fossil fuel burning but left animal farming there would be no more climate change, beyond what's already baked in. There might be a small residual increase but a steady state would be reached well below the targets set by the climate accords. 

If you eliminated all fossil fuel burning right this instant civilization would be irrevocably and catastrophically changed, in massive ways.

If you eliminated all meat consumption you'd seriously hurt certain economic sectors and cause a recession. 

One of these things is doable within a decade. The other isn't realistically doable for 20 years or more. 

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2 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

Because it's an economic hit, and not because it's the right strategy for fighting climate change. Got it. 

This would be Yet Another Exhibit of 'I want to save the world, but only if it doesn't change anything at all ever'. 

But we don't have those efficient low-emitting transport solutions right now. 

The solution isn't to eat locally the things you'd normally get abroad. The solution is to eat local things. If you can't get strawberries normally without high cost, you don't eat strawberries

You say that like it's a small thing. It would be an economic disaster. And I also pointed out that the carbon equations does not always come out in favour of eating local. So no, I'm not doing what you claim I am. 

In New Zealand's case 80% of our electricity generation is non-emitting. Therefore a lot of the food we produce has a lower carbon footprint than the same foods produced in other countries even taking transport into account. You are doing the world a favour by eating some NZ products rather than locally produced products.

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3 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

From the methane? No. From the fertilizer, calories, fuel, and water used? Oh you betcha

Right, so...we shouldn't delay things and give ourselves some time to develop other systems or wean ourselves off? Because that right there sounds like a feature, not a bug. 

If you eliminated all fossil fuel burning right this instant civilization would be irrevocably and catastrophically changed, in massive ways.

If you eliminated all meat consumption you'd seriously hurt certain economic sectors and cause a recession. 

One of these things is doable within a decade. The other isn't realistically doable for 20 years or more. 

If you think you can eliminate all animal agriculture in a decade without causing massive food shortages, which will kill people, you're delusional. That kind of transformation would likely take longer than transitioning to negligible fossil fuel emitting world. Even if the timescale for eliminating animal agriculture is half that for eliminating fossil fuel burning, the annual cumulative benefit of the progressive reduction on fossil fuel use over its elimination time scale is greater than the annual cumulative benefit of progressive animal agriculture reduction over it's elimination timescale.

The fertilizer, fuel and water argument is about suitable land and climate for the type of production, not about production itself. The fertilizer argument still comes back to the source of the energy used to produce and distribute the fertilizer, so dealing with fossil fuels largely deals with the fertilizer issue. And plant food production is not without it's industrial input demands. Marginally fertile land or land that is above a certain gradient or altitude that's only good for growing grass is better for animal production than for plant based food production. You can argue the land should be put into non-food production use, but it does mean you have to find other places to balance the nutrient budget, otherwise you're just going to end up producing less food.

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8 minutes ago, The Anti-Targ said:

You say that like it's a small thing. It would be an economic disaster. And I also pointed out that the carbon equations does not always come out in favour of eating local. So no, I'm not doing what you claim I am. 

 

Of course you are. You're saying it'd be a disaster for New Zealand, which heavily relies on meat production and animal raising as their economy. And it would be an economic disaster for New Zealand. It wouldn't be an economic disaster for the entire world. As an example, currently the meat industry in the US - one of the larger producers of meat for the whole world - has 5.2 million jobs and 275bn in wages. That's a lot! And it's about 3% of the total employment in the US. Even if you took all of them away and replaced them with nothing, you're looking at a recession. 

That'd suck, and it would hurt some places more than others. 

Furthermore, you said that the equations don't always work out for eating local, and again - that's wrong. They don't work out if you eat the same thing. If you don't, things end up being a lot better. Yes, certain places can produce beef cheaper and with less footprint than other places - but you know what produces even less? Not eating beef at all

8 minutes ago, The Anti-Targ said:

In New Zealand's case 80% of our electricity generation is non-emitting. Therefore a lot of the food we produce has a lower carbon footprint than the same foods produced in other countries even taking transport into account.

Pity electricity isn't as big a factor in actual agriculture and ranching. Or shipping. It's good on refrigeration though!

8 minutes ago, The Anti-Targ said:

You are doing the world a favour by eating some NZ products rather than locally produced products.

You're doing New Zealand a favor. 

Anyway, here's a more succinct way of saying the same thing:

Eating all locally grown food for one year could save the GHG equivalent of driving 1,000 miles, while eating a vegetarian meal one day a week could save the equivalent of driving 1,160 miles.

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18 hours ago, Loge said:

Problem is that aerodynamic / hydrodynamic drag scales with the square of the speed. That makes high speeds prohibitively expensive at sea level and for ships.

And there's the effect on ocean life to consider; a big increase in high speed shipping would presumably produce a lot of noise and turbulence?

18 hours ago, Loge said:

Not sure if electric planes are feasible. The weight of the batteries and (lack of) range will not be easy to overcome.

On the other hand, travelling above cloud level with a large surface area is ideal for solar power...

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