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View Diary: Collapse of Siberia's Coastline is Releasing Huge Amounts of CO2 (137 comments)

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  •  So there's hardly anyone doing anything, correct? (4+ / 0-)

    Is there any reason a group of interested individuals couldn't/shouldn't bother to come up with a plan?

    Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

    by JTinDC on Sat Sep 01, 2012 at 09:29:48 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  well there's the chinese birth control (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JTinDC, sockpuppet, Only Needs a Beat

      programs, and the christian bountiful whatever it is they call themselves besides breeders, and the current more widespread attitudes about family size...other than that   plan for population 'control'.

      None of 'em mine, thank dog.

      This machine kills Fascists.

      by KenBee on Sat Sep 01, 2012 at 12:25:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Chinese have it right. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sockpuppet, Only Needs a Beat, KenBee

        Christians have it backwards - quiverful - lots of kids. yikes.

        Sorry, I just think given the inevitably dire future circumstances, it's bordering on cruelly irresponsible to consdier procreating at all until/unless we figure shit out.

        Have a kid now and they come into adulthood just when things really start to get bad? Seriously? Happy gradulation kid, here's your biosuit. Don't go outside without it.

        Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

        by JTinDC on Sat Sep 01, 2012 at 01:31:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's fairly simple what has to be done (7+ / 0-)

      Get the atmospheric CO2 back down to the level humans evolved in (i.e. 200-300 ppm).

      Remembering the old saw "when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging", it goes without saying that fossil fuels use needs to be phased out.  No arguing, just phase it out.  To go forward, we need to have energy that does not transfer sequestered carbon to the atmosphere.

      After fossil fuel burning ceases, the atmosphere has a chance to recover to its 180-300 ppm stability point that it's spent most of the last million years.  However, waiting for it to come down and stabilize is not guaranteed.  If we want to guarantee it, humanity needs to actively sequester carbon with as much fervor as we have unsequestered it for the last century and a half.

      Two immediate ideas come mind: (1) burying lots of biochar, and (2) reforestation efforts on a scale heretofore unimagined -- like converting the Sahara Desert back into a grassland with occasional forested areas.  The first option has a lot of merit and could be politically very viable -- just give farmers an economic incentive to amend their farms with biochar.  They could be doing it now, except that the cost of amending soil with biochar takes about a decade to recoup the cost.  This is the kind of thing where tax policy could effect a big change in a few years.

      The second imperative, reforestation, is where an all-out war effort needs to be made.  Deforestation is estimated to be responsible for a goodly chunk of atmospheric CO2 rise, on the order of 20-30%, and this is something that has a political solution -- take away the profit in deforestation.  Politicians will have to find ways to value existing forests as they are, instead of the resources that can be extracted from them.  

      Reforestation efforts can go along in parallel with stopping deforestation.  But it has to be more than just planting a few cherry trees to spruce up the looks of the neighborhood.   Those millions of acres in western North America with dead pine trees from the pine beetle infestation?  They need to be aerially seeded with billions of seeds of tree species that (1) are much more resistant to the beetles and (2) can thrive in the warmer and drier climate forecast for the next few decades.

      So to recap, here's the solution: (1) phase out fossil fuels; (2) put in penalties and disincentives for deforestation; (3) plant trees on a truly planetary scale.

      •  What happens is we don't do number 1? (3+ / 0-)

        Or we don't do it until some set of circumstances forces us to? Or would such circumstances mean it's already too late and we're all toast?

        I just recall reading a while back that the consensus was we can allow the average global temp to rise another 2 degrees which amounts to so much CO2 but we have 5 times that amount in fuel reserves that the fossil fuel guys are going to want to use. So if we do are we all dead?

        Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

        by JTinDC on Sat Sep 01, 2012 at 01:39:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It keeps getting warmer (4+ / 0-)

          It's possible to look back in paleoclimate studies and figure out what kind of a world we will be in for if we keep liberating carbon from underground and throwing it up in the atmosphere.  In the distant past, there were forests in what we think of now as the frozen polar regions.  

          It's not a given that the Earth will be uninhabitable for humans at higher global temperatures.  But the population of Bangladesh will have to move, for their country will be under water and the good farming land will be far away, like maybe in Siberia.  Small populations will be able to adapt to changes; it's the coastal cities with millions of people that are in trouble.  Iceland will probably be a much more hospitable place to live -- it's a pretty good size island with only a quarter of a million inhabitants.  In a six degree warmer world, Iceland could be the new south of France.

          In the best of all possible worlds, all 3 of the imperatives I listed will get done, and in addition, some way will be found to stabilize world population.  In the worst case scenario, there will be a collapse of 90% (or more) of the world population and the few that are left will have to adapt to what is left.

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