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View Diary: The hottest month on record underscores the danger of Mitt Romney and the Republicans (129 comments)

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  •  Shutting down industrial civilization (5+ / 0-)

    In my opinion, the biggest obstacle and why we probably will not adequately solve this problem is that it is going to require essentially shutting down industrial production and consumption of fossil fuels to even have a chance of avoiding the worst scenarios.  They're still churning out emissions more than ever and there's no sign this will stop.  

    I believe that because such a dramatic change in human behavior is required, we're more or less screwed and our children and grandchildren will be coping with a multitude of consequences.  To what degree, I just don't know, but I don't expect it to be good ones.  

    I know it sounds pessimistic, but we all got on this ride decades ago and without a fundamentally seismic shift in our culture, I don't know if there are any simple solutions.

    And most importantly, we're not going to consume our way of this problem.

    •  the economic consequences (10+ / 0-)

      of climate change itself will be catastrophic, while the economic potential of a green economy is paradigmatic.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun Aug 12, 2012 at 10:17:36 AM PDT

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    •  Despair is not a policy (13+ / 0-)

      Actually, other countries have shown it is possible to make huge strides in renewable energy in relatively short amounts of time -- Germany and China on solar, Brazil on biofuel.

      Y'know, things looked pretty grim when Hitler was blitzing Europe, and we could've just said it's hopeless, let's give up, but thank God we didn't.  We can tackle climate change, both reducing it and adapting to the effects that are already baked in.  

      We can do this -- we just can't delay one second more and we need to come together and lobby hard for solutions that lead to serious energy efficiency, renewables development, and yes, adaptation for areas that are already in serious trouble.

      Freedom is the freedom to say two plus two make four.  If that is granted, all else follows. -- George Orwell, 1984. Now on Twitter.

      by kindler on Sun Aug 12, 2012 at 10:26:08 AM PDT

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      •  Our infrastructure needs fully rebuilt (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OldDragon, MoDem

        By that I mean it was a bad idea to create suburbia, sprawl and having almost no way for people to get around other than having a car.  We have a very weak passenger train system (and I actually do like taking Amtrak once in awhile, but it's not feasible if I'm going any further than Seattle to Portland, for instance).  Without contracting cities to create walkable neighborhoods, we're going to have difficulties adapting to coming changes.

        Biofuel to me is exchanging land to feed people for land to feed cars.  I really find that "solution" to be a horrific nightmare as land is clearcut to create new fields.

        Solar still requires a great deal of industrial input to build.

        Eliminating emissions can't be successful if we're still trying to consume our way out of a problem.  That's where I keep getting stuck in thinking the problem over.

        •  We can use 'linking technologies' (0+ / 0-)

          which are better than what we have, until we have the 'best answers'.

          Giant Miscanthus, which grows on unfarmable land, is already in the works, for example.

          There have been some remarkable advances in solar energy production efficiency just recently, as well. (Solar still wins my vote for 'best'.)

          Obama and Chu's approach has necessarily been an 'all of the above' approach for this reason.

        •  Interestingly ... (0+ / 0-)

          the 'rail' rework is far less hellish than most realize.

          We should invest in improving to a 'moderate speed' system capable of moving most cargo at 90-110 mph and people a bit faster. And, make this an electrified system. This would be an expense, over a decade, both public-private of about $200-$300 billion and would enable cutting oil demand by about 2.5 million barrels / day (a direct value, at today's prices, of over $200 million/day in reduced imports or over $70 billion / year) with many other associated benefits. While this doesn't make San Francisco-New York a 'rapid' passenger trip (over 30 hours without considering stops), it would enable moving 'tomatoes' from CA to DC using renewable energy and having them fresher on arrival than occurs today.  

          Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

          by A Siegel on Sun Aug 12, 2012 at 01:23:29 PM PDT

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      •  depends on one's goal (5+ / 0-)

        if the goal is to switch to a renewables-based economy, make oil and coal as quaint as horse-drawn carriages, greatly diminish the lobbying power of the fossil fuel economy, cut down air pollution, reduce mercury and lead poisoning, etc., then we have a winnable fight on our hands. And we will win that fight - perhaps not as quickly as we'd like, but I'm fairly confident that we'll win.

        If the goal is to keep global warming down to 2 degrees, well, sorry about that, planet.

        Panelist, Netroots Nation 2012, "Coal and the Grassroots Fight for Environmental Justice." @RL_Miller

        by RLMiller on Sun Aug 12, 2012 at 10:50:40 AM PDT

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    •  The country that landed a man on the moon, etc. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mightymouse, orlbucfan, kindler, cocinero, cai

      The effort that resulted in going from barely being able to get into orbit to landing men on the moon and bringing them safely back in less than 8 years was a technological achievement that required a single minded sense of purpose and a massive investment in R&D, engineering and infrastructure.   Surely if we made the same effort to perfect technologies that already exist (solar, wind, Geo-thermal, wave/tide, energy efficiency) we could find ways to maintain our life styles without the need to burn undue amounts of fossil fuels.  All it takes is the political will and leadership.

      The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones! - John Maynard Keynes

      by Do Something on Sun Aug 12, 2012 at 10:42:17 AM PDT

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      •  Hear, hear, Do Something! (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        indie17, cocinero, cai

        You took the comment right out of my head/keyboard. You bet we can gear up fast to battle this catastrophic threat. NASA has had plenty of info for decades on it. The military-industrial corporate complex squelched it in cahoots w/teh oil barons.

        Inner and Outer Space: the Final Frontiers.

        by orlbucfan on Sun Aug 12, 2012 at 11:40:41 AM PDT

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      •  Exactly (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cocinero, cordgrass, cai

        And the biggest and cheapest gains can come from squeezing efficiencies out of our current technologies and infrastructure.  The Clinton Climate Initiative is leading a very promising campaign to retrofit buildings for energy efficiency in the world's largest cities, and attracting investors to fund it (for which there are returns).  

        40% of our climate change emissions are related to powering our buildings and homes.  There's a huge amount we can do to reduce that burden.  In fact, just look to California, which has beaten the rest of the country in reducing electricity demand growth through enforcing a stricter energy code the last few decades.

        There's so much untapped potential out there -- we just need to lead our leaders to go there, ASAP!

        Freedom is the freedom to say two plus two make four.  If that is granted, all else follows. -- George Orwell, 1984. Now on Twitter.

        by kindler on Sun Aug 12, 2012 at 11:53:02 AM PDT

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    •  THis is the premier problem of our world today (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and we need to start developing a clear cut plan that others can get on board with. I too despair at times that there will not be a quick enough or large enough effort to counter the effects of GW.

      But look there are lots of people doing thinking about this...

      Production closer to home using greener energy. Less use of oil for plastic. I absolutely am stunned by te plastic islands in our oceans killing other species.
      Reduced consumption which would require a fundamental shift in who we follow now... End this fascination with conspicuous consumption... Change our work patterns to adapt to reduced consumption and yet keep people earning enough to live. Weatherize every structure......Changing codes to allow more independent energy creation.

      Creating local support allotments where people who live in apartments or have no space to grow food can do so... There were fascinating diaries about vertical farms. Reducing dependence on farm animals... Reducing monoculture which has led to some really serious problems that are only going to get worse. Change damn codes in cities and suburbs allowing people to have food gardens instead of lawns... Reserve lawns for parks. Allow people to have goats and chickens which would require some other adaptations in how we live.

      Bike paths everywhere. Educating and encouraging people to change how they behave.

      WE have to give people clear plans and what effect they would have and how much it will cost and what savings. Just pointing out the problem is NOT ENOUGH. Add solutions and I think more will come on board... Otherwise they will just simply turn away thinking there is nothing they can do that won't devastate thier lives and make them shorter.

      How can you tell when Rmoney is lying? His lips are moving. Fear is the Mind Killer

      by boophus on Sun Aug 12, 2012 at 02:15:20 PM PDT

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    •  I share SSMT's concerns (0+ / 0-)

      and I've believed in climate change for decades. I thought we could add on technology and reduce CO2 emissions, but now time's run out.

      We'll need to end coal combustion, retool the auto industry, shut down oil refining, and squeeze natural gas usage.

      That'll wipe out a couple of million jobs and  scrap trillions of dollars worth of privately-owned industrial facilities; 300-odd coal-fired power plants, about 100 refineries, several hundred gas-fired power plants, massive oil and gas exploration and recovery operations, most of our steel and heavy industries that burn fossil fuels -- all gone.

      We'll need to invest trillions in solar plants and panels, wind, nuclear and thousands of miles of new transmission to move the energy around.

      And if all our industrial production just moves to China or elsewhere, the way it did with the West Coast pulp and paper industry, it will all have been for nothing.

      I draw some hope from the way wind power is swiftly growing, and the support industries for wind that provide thousands of new jobs, but we are falling way short.

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