The Climate Emergency

BlueRidge

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North America endured hottest June on record (The Guardian)


I feel as though the above headline is a ho-hum these days. It doesn't feel as though even progressives are truly prioritizing acting on climate change to the degree needed.

There is time if we act now to both mitigate the severity of climate change and to take action to make adaptations so that societies can deal more effectively with the climate change that is already happening. But this can't be just one of many priorities or it won't happen to the degree necessary.

The European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service also revealed that June temperatures in North America were 1.2C higher than the average from 1991 to 2020, which is more than 2C above pre-industrial levels.

This is the 12th consecutive year of above-average June temperatures in the region, and the greatest increase recorded until now.

...
Northern Europe and Siberia also experienced an unusually hot June. Temperature records were broken in Moscow and Helsinki. The world as a whole was also warmer than average for this time of year. This would not normally be expected in the same year as a La Niña phenomenon, which is generally associated with a cooling effect.

Meteorologists said these anomalies were made more possible by the broader pattern of warming, which was caused by human emissions.

“Natural variability and a warming trend make a freakish event even more freakish,” said Carlo Buontempo, the director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service. “Because the climate is generally warming and so even in Niña year we see very high temperatures.”
 

caseyedwards

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They absolutely are not taking it seriously at all. You would think banning all combustion engines would be the priority but you get nonsense like “it’s too big! People would hate it.” I guess there are no climate problems and certainly not an emergency
 

BittyBug

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I hate to say it, but we are going to piss away this moment. This is not a challenge that can be tackled with individual action - it will take vast systemic change and the forces fighting it for their own self interest are too great. The Greenpeace footage was not surprising but it was nonetheless disheartening to see just how entrenched and effective corporate lobbyists are at undermining any effort to stem the tide of climate change.

But it's not a single factor issue. It's deforestation to accommodate animal agriculture, the draining of aquifers and reservoirs for agribusiness, and over consumption. We are destroying this planet to fuel our insatiable appetite for stuff, and without apology.
 

BlueRidge

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If we fail there will be plenty of time to be discouraged later.

I'm going with the idea we still have a chance, because I think we do. But there needs to be a doubling down to push Democrats while they still have their slim majority.

What are the most effective groups working on this?
 

BittyBug

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If we fail there will be plenty of time to be discouraged later.

I'm going with the idea we still have a chance, because I think we do. But there needs to be a doubling down to push Democrats while they still have their slim majority.
I used to feel that way but the current evidence that we are far more advanced that anticipated leaves little room for optimism. Just look at what's happened over the past three weeks - our planet is in its death throes.

What are the most effective groups working on this?

There are a gazillion groups working on this, but the chance of much happening in the current Congress is likely nil. I think the best hope will be to increase the Democratic majority in the mid-terms, which is a tall order, so I'd say support the DNC or individual candidates. The world won't meet its goals without the U.S. leading the way, so what we do or don't do will determine our fate.

There are different angles being tackled.

Some organizations are working on "nature-based solutions." Things like kelp farms, which show a lot of promise, but then you read about what's happening with kelp off the coast of California and wonder whether it's sustainable. Or tree planting campaigns, but the rain forest in Brazil is being slashed and burned for animal agriculture and forest fires on the West coast (fueled by climate change) are destroying forest faster than it can be regenerated.

There's the legislative angle, where organizations like the Center for Biological Diversity (a group that punches way above their weight) and the League of Conservation Voters use existing laws to sue to prevent things things related to fossil fuel.

There are groups like the World Wildlife Fund that use grass-roots, community education and activism to try to influence economic practices.

And there are groups like earthovershoot.org that are focusing on overpopulation as a driver for the practices that fuel climate change.

But none of these efforts will be enough without systemic changes to our economy. We need the Green New Deal, and without it, we're hosed.
 

clairecloutier

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It's hard to be optimistic at this point. We can't even pass voting rights reform in this Congress. The chance of passing anything that would negatively affect enormous fossil fuel companies--who are probably also enormous donors?? Only if it can be done through reconciliation, and even then who knows. 🤔 :rolleyes:
 

BlueRidge

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Just look at what's happened over the past three weeks - our planet is in its death throes.

Maybe it seems irrational but I just think as long as its still possible, that people should keep agitating and that having some hope is necessary.

I don't think there's a point when we say nothing can be done and give up. Humanity will have to deal with the consequences of climate change and keep trying to stop it from getting worse for all of our lifetimes.

This may not be helpful to others either but I don't believe the planet is in its death throes. I don't believe life will be ended by climate change. Life has survived five major extinctions in the past and it will without question survive until the sun dies. I also think humans will survive, though if the worst case scenarios come about, it will be in much smaller numbers.
 

BittyBug

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To be clear, I continue to advocate for action and fund organizations and politicians that are trying to effect change. I have also made many changes in my own life, even though they are likely inconsequential in the overall scheme of things.

And yes, the earth goes in cycles and some form of life will remain. But as we progress through the antrhopocene era, the earth is going to become increasingly inhospitable, and many species will die out. So death throes in the sense that life as we know it is reaching its end. And the transition to the next phase will be fraught with conflict and misery for many. Maybe if more people realized that we might actually create some momentum to take action. But it's head in the sand for most people, with a lot of very evil forces actively encouraging that.
 

BlueRidge

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Its true of most things that require political action that any one of us as individual has virtually no power. But democracy multiplies so I figure if I speak out and vote and send funds, its going to be multiplied by many more people. It sounds fantastical but its actually how things happen in democracies.

Granted we need our leaders too and they need to be amplified. People need to spend less time talking about their fears of the right and more time amplifying voices like AOC and Greta Thunberg. We're being drowned out by the rightwing but we need to keep trying.
 

BittyBug

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Its true of most things that require political action that any one of us as individual has virtually no power. But democracy multiplies so I figure if I speak out and vote and send funds, its going to be multiplied by many more people. It sounds fantastical but its actually how things happen in democracies.
That is the ideal, but we don't really have a true democracy. We have a tyranny of the minority and we have absolute gridlock.
 

BittyBug

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And I think we can and should do our part, but it won't make a difference. By the time red states are on fire, it will be too late. It may already be too late.

I know that may seem awfully bleak, but after the last few weeks, I don't really see any other possible conclusion. Climate has been stripped from the infrastructure bill. Maybe they'll be able to do something by reconciliation, but it's looking increasingly unlikely. And meanwhile, we're having record heat to the point that a tiny town in British Columbia (BC!) broke the record for hottest place on earth and then burnt to ash. And as if it's not enough for land to be on fire, we had a massive fire in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico to boot.

I think we've passed the tipping point.
 

BlueRidge

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Why should we do anything if it won't make a difference?

The short term politics may not be encouraging but people are going to have to act later if not sooner. Yes things will be worse and more people will suffer, but even so, where ever we are say 10 years from now, we're still going to have to deal with it, whatever the situation is.

I could just say forget it; I've lived most of my life and will probably get by for the next decade or two but I look at my "grand" cousins, who are 3-4-5 and wonder what about their lives? I don't see it ending in fire. I see it ending in emergency action, if not now, then when it is worse.
 

KCC

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As for surviving the changing climate, I found some practical advice in this book: https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/How-to-Prepare-for-Climate-Change/David-Pogue/9781982134518 It lists things like where to live, how to invest, etc. Unlike other books that talk about stopping climate change or the suffering it causes, this one focuses on adapting (or coping) with climate change.

It was John Holdren who said with climate change "We basically have three choices: mitigation, adaptation, and suffering. We're going to do some of each. The question is what the mix is going to be." My siblings, nieces and nephews don't want to see any mitigation and won't follow Pogue's advice on adaptation, and I imagine my grand-nieces/nephews will suffer more because of it.

I am right on the brink of saying it's too late, but there is something to be said for at least delaying the inevitable. I'm doing a few things -- leading a local effort now to plant hundreds of trees, buying more organic, reducing trips, planning a home & car conversion to solar/electric in a few years -- but then I return from shopping trips with as much packaging as product in my (reusable) bags.
 

BittyBug

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Very interesting article on the impact of climate change on the city of Chicago:


And an interesting comment from a reader: https://nyti.ms/3e1sZAu#permid=113573011

We will never solve climate disruption without addressing consumptive ideologies like capitalism (all forms: democratic/social capitalism, authoritarian capitalism, emerging market capitalism). We keep trying to "buy" our way out of climate change which only sinks us further into crisis.

We can’t consume our way out of global warming... consumption IS the problem! To address this problem, we need to look at population and a massive reduction in birth rates, but capitalism can only survive on massive consumptive growth fed by more and more people and ever increasing populations.

Because of this, virtually no country on earth will endeavor to inhibit their own capitalist consumer growth. Those that did experience declines in population growth are suffering economically such as Japan's aging population and some European countries. Germany helped feed their consumption monster by allowing over a million new immigrants. China's authoritarian capitalism model used their levers of power to control population but are now forced to reverse course expanding from 1 to 3 children.

Under the worldwide consumptive nature of capitalist growth systems, those that try to address population growth are punished and quickly reverse course. Instead we reward families for making more babies and those families in turn think that driving a hybrid or Tesla - or recycling a few plastic bottles - is somehow going to solve the problem.
 

BlueRidge

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It was John Holdren who said with climate change "We basically have three choices: mitigation, adaptation, and suffering. We're going to do some of each. The question is what the mix is going to be."
This is true. We don't have the choice of giving up because we go on living. The more we do, the more chance we have to reduce the suffering that will occur.

The group Evergreen Action, which was established by former supporters and staffers of Jay Inslee, is pushing for the Democrats to go big on a reconciliation package. Even if the bipartisan infrastructure package does not deal with climate change, the Democratic leadership has promised a reconciliation package. I don't see a reason to give up on this.


Fortunately, President Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) recognize that the bipartisan infrastructure framework falls short on climate, and have committed to simultaneously advance bold climate investments through “budget reconciliation” legislation this summer. Senior White House officials Gina McCarthy and Anita Dunn released a memo on June 29 in which they emphasize that the bipartisan framework “leaves out critical initiatives on climate change,” and commit to working with “with Congress through the budget process to pass additional legislation that will position the U.S. to combat climate change, create good-paying, union jobs, and win the clean energy future.” That memo points to 3 core climate policies, in particular, that are central to President Biden’s American Jobs Plan (AJP) but were excluded from the infrastructure deal. These are a good start, and there’s much more to get done. This is Congress’ first chance in over a decade to make full-scale progress against climate change. And next time, if there even is one, it will be too late.
 

DORISPULASKI

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Some other things everyone can do:
1. Eat vegetarian more often.
2. Set the furnace thermostat lower in winter.
3. Set the A/C thermostat higher in summer.
4. Drive less.
5. Don't cut down trees.
6. Conserve water.
7. Less lawn (as @BittyBug said)
8. Now is not the time to advocate shutting down your existing hydroelectric project or nuclear plant.

Limit methane emissions:
Methane is more than 25 times as potent as carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere.


In the US, the big sources are natural gas operations, cows, and landfills. There are actually things that can be done to mitigate these releases:

There is a really neat little technology that limits methane release, that the administration is already advocating for, methane leak detecting drones:


Switch to adding seaweed to cattle feed (healthier cows, 99% less methane emissions from them):

Mine landfills for methane:
 

Jammers

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Only humans could be so arrogant that they think they can control mother nature. Do these people realize that much of the world that's inhabited by people now was unhabitable 50,000 years ago? Nature will do what it's going to do and not care about the fleas known as the human race.
 

BittyBug

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Other steps you can take:

Compost your organic matter rather than putting it in the trash. You can do this on your own, or your town may have a program.

Wash your clothes in cold water. Saves energy and your clothes will last longer.

Make changes in your closet. Producing clothing is very energy intensive and can be highly polluting. Mend that hole, shop at thrift stores, and ask yourself whether you really need that new blouse that you'll only wear a few times. Buy natural fabrics (most polyester is made from plastic), look for organic cotton (non-organic cotton is very pesticide intensive).

Limit single-use plastic and especially think twice to go containers. Water bottles, plastic cups for your frozen latte, etc. - all energy intensive, high waste and lasting pollution.
 

nylynnr

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Some other things everyone can do:
1. Eat vegetarian more often.
2. Set the furnace thermostat lower in winter.
3. Set the A/C thermostat higher in summer.
4. Drive less.
5. Don't cut down trees.
6. Conserve water.
7. Less lawn (as @BittyBug said)
8. Now is not the time to advocate shutting down your existing hydroelectric project or nuclear plant.
I would go further.

1. Don't own a car. Take public transportation.
2. Don't procreate.
3. Don't use A/C in the New England, Midwest or Northeast states, period -- mankind got along for thousands of years without it.
4. Forget about watering the lawn or shrubbery. Landscaping is a luxury. Bath once a week.
5. Don't eat any meat.
6. Don't buy anything new; "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without."
7. Regularly advise others about what they should do.
 

BittyBug

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7. Regularly advise others about what they should do.
Lovely. Rather than taking the suggestions in the spirit of what you can do to help not only yourself, your family and your fellow humans, you take it s a personal attack. Let me guess: you don't think humans are contributing to climate change, and you think you have the right to live your life however you see fit, and f*ck everyone else if it's bad for them or the planet.
 

clairecloutier

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I think it's misplaced energy to get too worked up about individual action in terms of climate change. Yeah, individuals can make a difference collectively. But a few individuals' actions, to be honest, just don't mean much if 95% of the people around them are doing the opposite. A disaster of this magnitude requires action on a large scale--which means governmental action, first and foremost. Individuals cannot turn the tide themselves. I don't mean we should do nothing, but I also don't think there's any point in getting all preachy and judgmental about what other individuals are doing.

As a parent, I'm also bothered by the emphasis that some activists place on not having kids. So the planet goes on but humanity ends?? Good for the planet, I guess, but I'm supposed to be inspired to action by this vision?? :confused:
 

BlueRidge

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Every survey shows the vast majority of Americans takes climate change seriously and they want major action on it. I don't think we have time to spend on people who feel otherwise. If they aren't convinced by now of the need to act, they probably won't be.

Climate change isn't the place for the political games that are the daily fodder for media and social media.

I think we should have hope and work together. Those who opt out of that, opt out. C'est la vie.
 

BlueRidge

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I think it's misplaced energy to get too worked up about individual action in terms of climate change. Yeah, individuals can make a difference collectively. But a few individuals' actions, to be honest, just don't mean much if 95% of the people around them are doing the opposite. A disaster of this magnitude requires action on a large scale--which means governmental action, first and foremost. Individuals cannot turn the tide themselves. I don't mean we should do nothing, but I also don't think there's any point in getting all preachy and judgmental about what other individuals are doing.

As a parent, I'm also bothered by the emphasis that some activists place on not having kids. So the planet goes on but humanity ends?? Good for the planet, I guess, but I'm supposed to be inspired to action by this vision?? :confused:

Its only the kids that make me care. I've been privileged to live my life mostly before climate change has had a major impact. I want humanity to go on, and part of what makes that worthwhile is having families and passing life down the generations.

Dealing with climate change means how we do all we can to keep the planet habitable for the next generations.

I agree about the individual actions. Individual actions help, but I don't think people should stress about them. The next level is communities taking action together that are partially individual choices and that's even better. But we all know that its got to be a global effort so no one should stress too much if they can't live up to a standard individually of having close to zero impact.
 

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