18 votes

How to Survive Climate Change

8 comments

  1. [7]
    mike10010100 Link
    Good god, this comic is bleak. I'm kind of confused about the point it's making other than "everything and everyone except the rich are fucked".

    Good god, this comic is bleak. I'm kind of confused about the point it's making other than "everything and everyone except the rich are fucked".

    9 votes
    1. [6]
      alyaza Link Parent
      that is the point, lol. and that is probably what will happen. climate change is a kinda bleak reality, and its main saving grace if you live in the west is that the west will get it bad but will...

      that is the point, lol. and that is probably what will happen. climate change is a kinda bleak reality, and its main saving grace if you live in the west is that the west will get it bad but will most likely be equipped and have the wealth to deal with and mitigate some of its worst excesses. (the same can't be said for most of the rest of the world, of course, and europe is likely to deal with large influxes of climate refugees as the century progresses.)

      11 votes
      1. [5]
        mike10010100 Link Parent
        Yeah, I'm still hopeful that we can turn this ship around, kick the denialists out of power, and with enough time to mitigate the worst of this. I'm still pretty confident in the ingenuity of...

        Yeah, I'm still hopeful that we can turn this ship around, kick the denialists out of power, and with enough time to mitigate the worst of this.

        I'm still pretty confident in the ingenuity of humans and their ability to make technology that solves any problem. We just need to stop fucking around and treating the people who deny climate change is happening because of human actions like they have some kind of valuable input to the discussion.

        7 votes
        1. [4]
          j3n Link Parent
          Human ingenuity is indeed great at solving technological problems. Unfortunately for us, climate change is absolutely not a technical problem. The technical solution to climate change is dead...

          Human ingenuity is indeed great at solving technological problems. Unfortunately for us, climate change is absolutely not a technical problem. The technical solution to climate change is dead simple. Turn off every single fossil fuel burning power plant and ban all fossil fuel burning cars, truck, ships and maybe planes. Do it right now, today, and you've solved climate change. The problem, of course, is a political one. The political and economic fallout of such an action is sufficient to make it completely untenable, but that's not a problem technology can solve.

          There is absolutely no technology in existence or on the immediate horizon that is going to allow use to continue our current trajectory of GDP and population growth. We desperately need lower global energy consumption, which broadly means a lower GDP. That means either everyone has to lower their standard of living, or we need fewer people, but again neither of those options are considered politically acceptable.

          5 votes
          1. [3]
            mike10010100 Link Parent
            That's a bold assumption. There is too much of chemical X in the atmosphere. Technology develops solution that takes X out of the atmosphere. Not really. We're halfway off the cliff. Even if every...

            Unfortunately for us, climate change is absolutely not a technical problem.

            That's a bold assumption. There is too much of chemical X in the atmosphere. Technology develops solution that takes X out of the atmosphere.

            Do it right now, today, and you've solved climate change.

            Not really. We're halfway off the cliff. Even if every fossil fuel burning machine suddenly ceased to operate today, we'll still be feeling the effects of anthropogenic climate change for half a century.

            The problem is both political and technological. If we could find a machine/process that converts sunlight into a carbon-reversing process for a low enough cost, we could actually remove these harmful chemicals from the air. The problem is cost, of course. But that's just economics.

            There is absolutely no technology in existence or on the immediate horizon that is going to allow use to continue our current trajectory of GDP and population growth.

            I don't know, artificial fusion could get us there. Hell, so could nuclear. But every year that passes, we find more and more efficient ways to do almost everything.

            I don't disagree that we need lower global energy consumption, but we could also just switch to renewables and get 90% of the way there.

            5 votes
            1. [2]
              j3n Link Parent
              It won't though, at least not without some pretty fundamental physics breakthroughs. We take high energy fossil fuels, extract the energy from them, and dump the byproducts into the atmosphere....

              There is too much of chemical X in the atmosphere. Technology develops solution that takes X out of the atmosphere.

              It won't though, at least not without some pretty fundamental physics breakthroughs. We take high energy fossil fuels, extract the energy from them, and dump the byproducts into the atmosphere. Reversing that process is going to require putting the same amount of energy back in, by definition.

              Not really. We're halfway off the cliff. Even if every fossil fuel burning machine suddenly ceased to operate today, we'll still be feeling the effects of anthropogenic climate change for half a century.

              See above. Yes, climate change is already here and we're going to have to deal with it, but there's very little we can do to change that. The absolute best we can hope for is to stop making the problem worse.

              I don't know, artificial fusion could get us there. Hell, so could nuclear. But every year that passes, we find more and more efficient ways to do almost everything.

              Two different problems here.

              First is that we have very little evidence that fusion power generation is possible in the near to medium term. It has been perpetually just out of reach for nearly a century now. This is absolutely a technological problem that, if solved, could radically change the calculus regarding climate change (and a whole host of other things). At this point I'd put it categorically outside of the "immediate horizon" category simply because it has failed to deliver on exactly that promise for so long.

              Second is political again. Nuclear fission is a safer and cleaner form of power generation by far than fossil fuels, even when you account for all of the effects of the handful of nuclear incidents that have occurred over the years. Coal power generation causes more radiation deaths every year than nuclear ever has in its entire history. There is no technological barrier here, just a total failure to convince the general public of the basic science that proves the above point.

              I don't disagree that we need lower global energy consumption, but we could also just switch to renewables and get 90% of the way there.

              That's just not true, at least not for any definition of "there" that I can think of. Even if we made radical cuts to our overall energy consumption that are politically infeasible but radically short of an absolute ban on burning fossil fuels, we would not be able to meet demand with renewable. Hydro and geothermal are severely geographically limited and already basically built out to capacity. Solar and wind are growing but are still tiny fractions of total generation, and they're going to remain so. Nuclear is really the only viable solution we have to get us off fossil fuels.

              3 votes
              1. mike10010100 (edited ) Link Parent
                Yes, and we have a ton of open, barren land that would be perfect for a massive solar or wind farm to start this process. Or we could build more nuclear power plants. Regardless, the energy...

                We take high energy fossil fuels, extract the energy from them, and dump the byproducts into the atmosphere. Reversing that process is going to require putting the same amount of energy back in, by definition.

                Yes, and we have a ton of open, barren land that would be perfect for a massive solar or wind farm to start this process. Or we could build more nuclear power plants.

                Regardless, the energy equation is not as hopeless as you paint. It's possible, if not unlikely.

                First is that we have very little evidence that fusion power generation is possible in the near to medium term. It has been perpetually just out of reach for nearly a century now.

                That's because funding for it has been taking a nosedive. It's ridiculous that we haven't been pouring more money into this:

                https://www.reddit.com/r/Futurology/comments/5gi9yh/fusion_is_always_50_years_away_for_a_reason/

                Again, it's not a technological problem, it's an economics problem.

                There is no technological barrier here, just a total failure to convince the general public of the basic science that proves the above point.

                So let's rev up the propaganda. If it's a political problem, and a solution is in sight that doesn't involve, ya know, killing half the planet, then it's possible to convince people to hop on board.

                Solar and wind are growing but are still tiny fractions of total generation, and they're going to remain so.

                Hold up, multiple European countries are almost entirely powered by renewables. Why do you think that solar and wind are going to remain tiny fractions of total generation? The data does not support this.

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Top_5_Solar_States.png

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_Monthly_Solar_Power_Generation.svg

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_in_the_United_States#/media/File:Projected_US_Renewable_Electric_Capacity.jpg

                The subtitle for the last jpg gives even more outrageous context.

                The U.S. EIA projected U.S. solar generating capacity to increase more than tenfold between 2011 and 2040. The 2035 projected total capacity was reached in 2016, and the 2040 projected capacity in 2017.

                Also:

                In the twelve months through December 2018, utility scale solar power generated 66.6 terawatt-hours (TWh), 1.66% of total U.S. electricity. During the same time period total solar generation, including estimated small scale Generation photovoltaic generation, was 96.1 TWh, 2.30% of total U.S. electricity.

                I think you're seriously underestimating how much we can get off of solar. We have the best fusion generator around at our doorstep.

                1 vote
  2. teaearlgraycold (edited ) Link
    I want a serious version of this comic. Obviously there are a few important things: Have money Have money Have mobility But after those three - where is the safest? Obviously living by the ocean...

    I want a serious version of this comic. Obviously there are a few important things:

    1. Have money
    2. Have money
    3. Have mobility

    But after those three - where is the safest? Obviously living by the ocean isn't going to work out. But if you can predict where the new bays and protected waters will be after a few feet of ocean rise you might be set.

    If such a simulation could be reliable, I'd try to determine global climates after we reach societal collapse. If climate change is bad enough it will cause enough deaths and loss of infrastructure that we won't be able to put so much CO2 into the atmosphere anymore. At some point we'll either reach an equilibrium or finally see decreases in atmospheric CO2. With that maximum as a "worst case", what temperate places will be left on Earth?

    Another fact to consider is that we're creating an atmosphere that directly affects our ability to think. We're cruising past CO2 levels of 400ppm. Past 1000ppm will mean measurably lower cognitive abilities. So you also want to find a place with as many plants as possible. However, large segments of flora will probably die out, so you want to find somewhere with a lot of trees that can handle the temperature increase in an area that won't experience too many wildfires.

    Even as a 23 year old I think I'm unlikely to live through the worst of climate change, but I'll probably still suffer significantly. I can only do so much to reduce my personal impact, so I need to prepare for the worst.

    4 votes